Goldilocks and the Three* Vests

Today I'm handing over the reins of the blog to Alix Pearson. Alix is one of the moderators in our Ravelry group, and is a fount of knowledge on both stranded knitting and adjusting patterns for fit. I have long admired her beautiful stranded vests, so today she is going to share some helpful tips on making your own. Over to you, Alix!

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Oorik Tank Top KAL

Have you chosen your pattern? Found some yarn? Swatched? It must be time to kick off the final Year of Techniques knitalong, and this is a great one! I know SO many knitters who are fabulously accomplished, and yet haven't tried cutting a steek in their knitting. There's a fundamental feeling that taking your scissors to something you've spent so long knitting must be a bad idea, but honestly, with the right yarn (and this is KEY), it's a piece of cake.

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Oorik tank top by Mary Jane Mucklestone

The fantabulous Mary Jane Mucklestone has created our final design for A Year of Techniques: the Oorik tank top.

Oorik (meaning small person in Shetland dialect) is a Fair Isle tank top (US vest) knitting completely in the round. The arm and neck openings are created with steeks, thus allowing you to always be working with the right side of the fabric facing you. This makes it easier to avoid mistakes in the colourwork, and there's no purling to do in the Fair Isle section.

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May Pattern Round-Up

This last month has felt like it has been all about The Book of Haps, but we've had other things in the pipeline.

Waits is a top-down version of Bristol Ivy's popular Newsom cardigan and features interesting mitred shaping. If you already have Newsom, or would like both, use the code DUET at the checkout to get a discount. 

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Shetlander Donna Smith was the patron of Shetland Wool Week in 2015 and her Baa-ble Hat, the official pattern, has been made thousands of times. She also contributed Houlland to the Book of Haps. Her Shallmillens Snood takes its name from the Shetland word for "smithereens" or lots of little pieces, and that is an apt description. Made up from a series of short colourwork sections, this is an ideal project for novice knitters, or more experienced knitters alike.

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If you're looking for a fun, small project to carry around with you, Mary Jane Mucklestone's Maritime Mitts could be just the thing. There is a KAL going on in Mary Jane's group from now until the end of August with weekly prizes, as well as one at the end. 

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Finally, Ella Austin's latest release from her Colour and Line collection is Essie, a lightweight sweater for summer. Popcorn stitches in the yoke mark the Morse code letter S, giving the pattern its name. Essie is available as a single download, or with the whole collection.

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Keep up to date with all we're doing:
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Images © Bristol Ivy; Donna Smith; Mary Jane Mucklestone; and Emma Solley (Ella Austin) respectively.

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.  

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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.  

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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.  

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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. 

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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.

  

Jim

FO: Stopover Sweater

Whoosh! And it was done!

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In a shade over 2 weeks I have officially banged out this sweater. And now I'm not taking it off. No, really, I'm not! It is light and snuggly and warm, and it is giving me that warm glow of satisfaction in the creation of something beautiful and useful. I'm trying hard not to immediately cast on another one...

Just in case you've missed any of my excitement over the last fortnight, this is a Stopover, designed by the delightful Mary Jane Mucklestone. Jim and I edited up some extra sizes for the pattern, to help with the excitement that Kay and Ann have generated with their Bang Out A Sweater KAL. They are world class enablers. Resistance truly is FUTILE! You can browse the beautiful finished sweaters on Instagram with the bangfinisher hashtag.

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There's been a bit of chatter over on Ravelry about adding short rows to the back neck, in order to raise the back/drop the front neck. So I thought I'd share my blocking photo here... This is how I shaped my neckline while it was damp, and then left it to dry. I've not added any short rows. It's entirely shaped as per the original instructions in the pattern. I followed Mary Jane's excellent advice to block it firmly to the shape I wanted, and then I marked the back neck by weaving in some of the orange contrast, to remind myself which side was which. I'm not sure that adding short rows would have improved on this particularly! So trust in Mary Jane, and just shape it while damp. :)

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I will do almost anything to avoid knitting with 3 colours in a round, so the contrast pops of orange and teal at the neck were added by duplicate stitch (Swiss darning) at the very end. I then went round and patted and prodded the stitches in the colourwork and darning while it was damp, to ensure that everything was looking its absolute best. I'm constantly amazed by the power of a bit of poking at this stage in a garment. It's transformative!

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If you're inspired to make your own Stopover, I'm de-stashing my leftovers... You can find all the details on my Ravelry trade or sell pages: Leftover Lopi

There is still plenty of time to knock one out before the weather warms up!

Pounding out a sweater

I can't put it down. Since I cast on last week, I've knitted the body and 1.5 sleeves. This jersey is everything Kay and Ann promised. Satisfying and most of all QUICK! My plan is this: Continue to knit monogamously on my Stopover, and then enjoy being snuggly warm wearing it, while I knit the remainder of my Alfrick socks for the BomBella Colourwork KAL.

I thought I'd be able to balance work on each of these projects, but in reality, I am overtaken by the fact that I just want to be wearing the sweater! And I want to be wearing it right now. I am hoping to finish the second sleeve tonight, and it should then be a sprint through the yoke. Once I join the pieces in a design like this I feel like it gets faster and faster until the final stitches are cast off and it's done. No doubt it's the decreasing number of stitches in the rounds, but I'm sure I just knit more quickly too. At times in my past knitting life I've knitted on many projects at once, but more and more I'm finding that monogamous attention to one project is what works best for me. It feels like I finish things more quickly if I focus on them. It doesn't stop me daydreaming about the next project though, and I have a few ideas up my sleeve...