New design: Wee Bruton Hoody

Can you believe how adorable these two are?

© Fergus Ford

© Fergus Ford

Sofia and Toby are wearing the latest designs in the Cross-Country Knitting series, Wee Bluebells and Wee Bruton respectively. You may remember our first Cross-Country Knitting adventure that we published just over a year ago (how the time has flown!), well this time the challenge was to design a child's version of one of our adult sweaters...

Kate and I have different but complementary styles, and as soon as we started talking about the project, I knew it would be my Bruton Hoody that got a fresh look. Kate chose to scale down her popular Bluebells cardigan from the wonderful book, Yokes. She's kept the same pretty bluebell motif, from that point when the flowers start to go over and point skywards, but reworked the sweater to a more child-friendly cardigan. Sofia is wearing the age 2 size, and sizes are available from 1-12, but you should definitely check the actual finished sizes in comparison with your intended recipient - kids vary in size ENORMOUSLY!


What a cutie!

I had been of a mind to design a child's version of the Bruton Hoody since it was first conceived. As I worked on the original I had ideas about making a mini-version for my nephew James. Well, it's only taken a couple of years, but Wee Bruton is now here! The adult's hoody is worked in Excelana DK, but to keep the proportions of the Bavarian twisted stitch motif, I have scaled the Wee version down to Excelana 4ply. Both yarns are a joy to knit with, and there are some limited edition colours available in the 4ply at the moment, if you're quick!


When you purchase Cross-Country Knitting Volume 2, you not only get the patterns for Wee Bruton and Wee Bluebells, but also a lovely essay by Rachel Atkinson exploring the significance of childhood handknits. Spoiler alert, there are pictures of Kate, Rachel and me as kids in handknits along with that article! It's a great read. Thanks for joining us on the CCK adventure Rachel!


Kate and I were overjoyed when Fergus Ford (the brother of the TURBO Felix) agreed not only to photograph but also arranged our fantastic models for us. Fergus has really captured the exact look and feel we were hoping for in these beautiful pictures.


If you'd like to know more about Kate's design, head over to her blog to read more.

You can buy a copy of Cross-Country Knitting Volume 2 from Ravelry for £5.95 

 Or alternatively, you can buy a print copy from Magcloud for $12.00

Thank you so much to Kate for persuading me to keep my toe in the design world. I love editing, but it's also great to have the adrenaline rush that publishing my own designs brings. I really enjoy working with you! Here's to the next CCK adventure...

New Design: Bruton Hoody

Many thanks to everyone for the purchases, kind tweets, Ravelry favourites, Facebook likes and all of the other ways that you have spread the word about Cross-Country Knitting! Kate and I are overwhelmed by the response. You can pop over to Kate's blog, to read more about her design, Machrihanish.

Today I'd like to talk a bit more about my design, Bruton...

© Jesse Wild

The twisted stitch cable panel comes from a stitch pattern in Maria Erlbacher's wonderful Twisted-Stitch Knitting book. I love this book, and could happily work through the stitch patterns in turn! All of the right side knits are twisted (and wrong side purls), which gives a particularly well-defined snake-like appearance to the cables. It has the added interest of crosses on wrong side rows, which requires a little bit of concentration, but since these only occur on 12 rows in the hoody (and another 12 in the swatch - where you can practise), it's not too onerous. I really wanted this pattern to be interesting, but not too challenging!


© Jesse Wild

I love it when a pattern has a clever trick or two to teach me, and I hope that some knitters may find this to be the case with Bruton. To create both the pocket openings, and the sleeve holes, you work on fronts and back separately, but I've used two cunning tricks to enhance things. Firstly I've incorporated TechKnitter's handy trick to avoid a weak point where you separate the fronts from back. I've searched for the precise link, but my search-fu is for once failing me. Never mind! There are SO many amazing hints and tips over there, that it's worth a proper visit, if you're not already familiar with her work.

Secondly, you don't have to break and rejoin the yarn when you finish one section and start again on the next. I know that many people aren't too bothered about weaving in ends, but this is such a clever technique as it also saves you some time later! I first came across a similar process when editing a Courtney by Nick Atkinson for The Knitter, and I've taken the idea and reworked it for my design. In Nick's pattern, once you've knitted a strip, you crochet your way back down the side of the strip to return to the next set of stitches. In the Bruton Hoody, you pick up the stitches ready to work the pockets (and later sleeves). This enables you to work your way back to the next section, without having to break and rejoin. And better still, you then have your pocket and sleeve stitches all set and ready to work once you have finished the body!


© Jesse Wild

Excelana DK is a brilliant yarn to work with. The yarn was developed by Susan Crawford and John Arbon. What a team! Susan and John created the yarn for Susan's vintage designs, but it's equally amazing for  modern designs too! Here is some information about the wool from their website:

Excelana is a 100% British wool, spun from the fleece of the Exmoor Blueface, which live on the moors of North Devon. A cross between the Exmoor Horn and the Bluefaced Leicester, the fleece of the Exmoor Blueface creates a lustrous yarn with a soft handle, great stretch and excellent stitch definition, affording the knitter a pleasurable knitting experience.

I can but agree that it really does have wonderful stretch, stitch definition, and softness. Jim (aka Veuf Tricot) has been wearing his hoody non-stop since we finished the photoshoot in April last year (I told you this has been in the works for a while!), and it's wearing REALLY well too. Just what you want if you have spent time knitting a garment for someone special!


© Jen Arnall-Culliford

You will notice that I've slipped in a few pictures of me wearing the Bruton Hoody... I'm resisting the temptation to outright steal this from Jim. But the temptation is STRONG! So if you find that once it's knitted, you can't bear to part with it... Just don't let on that I said you could!


© Jesse Wild

To purchase Cross-Country Knitting volume 1 for £5.95 head over to Ravelry, or just click on the buy now button: 

New Pattern: Lullington Hat

Do you remember that ball of Toft Ulysses that I bought at Unravel the other week


Well it had some pretty clear ideas about how it wanted to be knitted up...

I cast on this hat at the start of last week, and it had the ends woven in on Thursday morning. Not a single rip back. Not a tinked stitch. Designing never happens like that for me. This is a yarn with a personality and opinion!


I've been wanting to get my hands on a ball of Toft Ulysses for a while. My lovely knitting friends Kate Davies and Rachel Coopey have both been singing its praises to me, and I find myself in total agreement with them. I can't speak highly enough of the  yarn. It is sturdy and firm, but OH so soft! The stitch definition is outstanding, and it really does make a fantastic squishy hat. I think it would look brilliant with the addition of one of Toft's fabulous alpaca pompoms as well...


It wouldn't be a post-shoot blog entry if I didn't include an amusing shot of me pulling a face for the camera! Thank you Jesse for always making me giggle in front of the camera. You really are a brilliant photographer.


I love the spirals of decreases on a hat crown.

My heartfelt thanks go to Rachel Atkinson (technical editing) and Jesse Wild (photography - all shots of me are © Jesse Wild), both of whom fitted me in to their busy schedules, and were happy to work around the school run!

It has been a week full of knitting-related activity, so keep your eyes peeled for more patterns in the next few days! Along with an EXTREMELY exciting collaboration, which has been a long time in the works. Happy knitting all!

New pattern: Batcombe Hat

Thank you all for the kind, kind comments on yesterday's post. I wasn't really expecting that, so it made me smile all day long. Thank you! Onwards...

I'm continuing in the theme of Somerset villages for the names of my updated patterns. Today's offering is called Batcombe, which I chose, because a hat with two balls, clearly needs to be BATcombe... Well it made me giggle anyway! :)

This is another hat which would be perfect for a Christmas gift (although you'd have to prise this one out of my cold dead hands, I love it so much!).

Jim and I had great fun on Saturday morning, taking photos out in the fields behind our house. Well I had fun anyway - I was thoroughly silly! And Jim... well, he blogged about being a photographer over on his pages: Snapper for Hire.

Pompoms seem to be undergoing something of a renaissance, and have been the subject of a great deal of twittering of late, so it seemed only right that this should be the next pattern to get the once over and release!

Batcombe Hat1

(This is a slightly more sensible pose...) The Batcombe Hat is knitted in a long rectangle, and then seamed up each side. This makes it a brilliant new-knitter project, or just a fun pattern to make at knitting night, or in front of a good film. Wearing it just makes me smile! How can you not smile when you have a pair of pompoms on your head?!

There are just two cables to master, and the pdf pattern includes a link to a good cable tutorial if you've not tried cables before. There's also a link to a pompom tutorial, on the off-chance that you've forgotten how to make them the old-fashioned way. You could of course equally use a spangly new pompom maker.

I've done both a chart and written pattern for the cable, so both sides of that debate are fully catered for. It's not a complex cable, but I really liked the effect on the finished fabric.

My sample was made using Laughing Yaffle's Fledgling Sock yarn, which is a lovely 4ply yarn made from a blend of alpaca, merino and nylon. Alison hand-dyes the yarn in small batches, so availability is variable. It's worth looking out for an update, but if you want to get going straight away, you could easily use an alternative 4ply yarn - just pick one with reasonably good stitch definition, so not too much fluff! You want to be able to see the cables once you've worked them.