Last Round Up for 2014

Copyright Jay Mantri. Source www.jaymatri.com

Copyright Jay Mantri. Source http://www.jaymatri.com

The holidays are upon us and although I still have lots going on behind the scenes I am taking a little break from the blog.

I will be back in early January with a new website and lots of exciting news 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for coming along on this journey with me in 2014. It has been a fantastic year and I have met so many amazing knitty folk from all corners of the globe. I have really enjoyed watching you knit my patterns and have loved getting to know you through this space on the internet.

2015 is going to be an exciting year, there are lots of changes afoot here but some things will remain the same. I will be here blogging about all things fibre related, I will still be knitting and designing in all my spare time and Jo and I will be chatting every two weeks about my undying love of socks.

A few final bits and pieces before I sign off for the year

If you want to keep up with my holidays festivities you can follow me on Instagram (most likely to be filled with knitting and food) or on Twitter. 

I will be taking part in the TGS is one KAL. A celebration of one year of The Golden Skein where we are knitting my latest shawl pattern Kunye. If you have a single skein of fingering weight yarn and fancy a good knit-along pop over to this thread and join in. 

Kunye_Low Res_05 Discount

If you want to buy this pattern or any of my other patterns you can take advantage of a special discount code I set up for Aplayfulday and her ‘me-along’ – use the code ‘playful’ and you will get 33% off anything in my Ravelry store until the 31st December. 

Workshops

If you want to book in for a 2015 workshop my schedules are now up on the relevant shop websites. I will be teaching in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow in January and February.

January and February slots at Ginger Twist Studio, Edinburgh teaching a range of workshops.

January and February slots at Queen of Purls, Glasgow teaching a range of workshops.

7th February at Fluph, Dundee teaching Magic Loop and Finishing School.

I also have an exciting slot at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. If you want to get to grips with socks this is the perfect opportunity to master the basics. It would also make a great christmas present for the knitter in your life.

Sock Surgery

Finally if you have some free time and want to listen to the first few episodes of the Sock Surgery segment on the Shinybees podcast this is a great time to catch up. We will be announcing the knit-along and lots of other exciting bits in the new year.

That is it from me for now folks. I hope you have a wonderful holiday break. With lots of time for knitting and relaxing.

Here’s to a fantastic 2015!

See you in a few weeks.

Happy knitting.

Clare

x

Quadratic KAL

Hi,

Hope you had a good weekend wherever you are in the world. Mine was busy and filled with a visit from a very good friend. It was brilliant to catch up and nice to take a break away from the laptop.

Today is the 1st of December. I can’t quite believe it myself but indeed it is true. Even though I am still pretty stretched with work knitting and deadlines I want to be kind to myself and knit something relaxing over the next few weeks. I have chosen to take part in the Quadratic KAL being held in the Eden Cottage Yarns group. I work closely with both Victoria and Jo and thought it would be a great way to relax and chat to knitty folk.

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Quadratic by David O’Kelly is simply brilliant. You may recall me professing my love for this pattern a little while ago when it first came out. A large garter triangle with perfectly placed stripes. Easy to knit and the ideal project for using up some much loved yarn where I only have a little bit left from a skein. I had previously cast on for this in 4ply (the suggested weight) however for a number of reasons I decided against continuing with that yarn. For this KAL I am opting for a DK version, it is going to get cold soon enough and I will need a warm cosy shawl for the long days at my desk (my office has no radiator so can be a little chilly).

I chose some fabulous Whitfell DK, the new 100% alpaca mill dyed range from Eden Cottage Yarns and went stash diving for my contrast stripes. I have a delicate silvery grey called Dove from Ginger’s Hand Dyed, some bold green, Almost Spring, and fluorescent yellow, Highlighter, from Rainbow Heirloom and then some stunning bright blue Navia and some hot pink from West Yorkshire Spinners. It is going to be an 80’s inspired neon shawl, and it’s going to be epic.

Quadratic

 

Fancy joining in? I would love to chat to some of you over in the Eden Cottage Yarns group.  You can find the KAL here. 

Want to get your hands on a copy of the pattern, pop over to Ravelry by clicking here. 

Have a wonderful week.

Clare x

 

Meet the Designer #giftalong2014

The Ravelry #giftalong2014 is well underway and today I have another fabulous interview with one of the designers who is participating. I chatted to Robynn Weldon, a fellow South African now living in Europe about her inspiration, designs and dream knitting. Hope you enjoy the interview.

Robynn has some stylish yet practical knits in her Ravelry store. I really like the Wraparound Mitts, the have an interesting construction and suit a slightly variegated yarn perfectly.

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Another of my favourites is the matching pair of mitts and scarf / cowl / headband / ear warmer aka the “perfect accessory for keeping you warm on a run”. The Runaround Loop was designed because Robynn enjoys running. I enjoy a little jog now and again and cycle everywhere, so this is the perfect accessory for me. The matching Runaround Mitts are the perfect companion to the Runaround Loop.

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CD: Where do you find your design inspiration?

RW: Lack of ideas has never been the problem, only lack of time to execute them. All the more so now I have two small kids. The time factor means that regardless of what exotic or fashion-forward concepts you might find in my notebook, the ideas that make it to the top of the queue tend to be small, needful things (either for myself or my children); things that are fun to make, useful and well suited to stash diving! Necessity, in my case, is the mother of inspiration.

CD: What types of yarn do you love to work with? I would love to know about weights, fibre types, finishes, dyeing methods etc.

RW: I used to run a luxury knitting shop (Purlescence.co.uk) and as you might imagine, came away with an enviable stash of hand-dyed yarn. The sensual element of knitting has always been very important to me – I can’t be bothered to work with yarn I don’t love to handle and look at. But I also don’t want to waste time on something that’s going to fall apart quickly. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years learning about yarn (I even teach a workshop about it) and have formed some pretty strong preferences: while I love natural fibres, everything from linen to merino, I won’t buy singles or pure cashmere (both too pill-y and fragile!). My absolute favourite yarn is Posh Yarn Natasha (a camel/silk blend, amazing for lace) – Posh colours are incomparable, but I’m also a big fan of Sweet Georgia. As for weights, I favour anything between regular laceweight (not cobweb) and DK. I love the way lighter fabrics move, compared with chunkier weights, and it helps that they don’t add too much bulk to my frame.

CD: What is your favourite knitting technique?

RW: I really enjoy lace stitches. Cables are awesome too, textured stitches are fun, but lace is very satisfying to me.

CD: What is your most treasured or most useful knitting tool?

RW: A girl can never have enough tape measures.

CD: What is your favourite quick gift knit pattern, and why?

RW: I don’t knit a lot of gifts. You have to be really deserving to get a knit from me, and I’ll put a lot of thought into choosing something that is just your style. But I’ve been very tempted by some of the quirkier patterns in the GAL – Platypus by Selina S, or the Neck Kraken by Annie Watts! They would be so fun to gift.

CD: If someone knitted you a gift what would you love to receive?

RW: Oh, a lovely wide scarf! Scarves are awesome, and there are so many fantastic patterns, but I don’t knit a lot of them. Maybe because I have a short attention span and scarves are so looooong.

CD: Any tips for those taking part in the GAL this year?

RW: Remember gifts for yourself count too. You know the recipient will appreciate it, and they’re surely deserving!

CD: Will you be casting anything on for the #giftalong2014?

RW: Hell yes. I’ve bought eight patterns (!) – you can see which ones on my blog – and while I’m obviously not going to be knitting all of them by GAL end, I’m hoping to have a good try. One of them is your own Jozi. I love socks that make good use of handpainted yarn, and as a South African myself, how could I resist?

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CD: If someone gave you a two week knitting holiday (24 / 7 knitting and relaxing time) what projects, patterns and yarn would you pack in your bags?

RW: What a magnificent fantasy… I long for uninterrupted time for proper, big projects and delicious lace, so I’d pack Marnie MacLean’s Arctium shawl, with a gorgeous skein of Natasha from my stash. But best of all I’d have time to work on my own hibernating Big Designs: a cowl-neck pullover in some fabulous grey alpaca/silk from The Uncommon Thread, and an oversized, richly textured fine-gauge tunic. I think Holst Garn’s Coast would be perfect for that.

Even for a fantasy, that’s more knitting than I could possibly accomplish in two weeks, but I make it a firm rule never to go away with fewer than three projects. Say one craps out, one goes faster than you think, and then what?

You can find Robynn as @woollythinker on Twitter and Pinterest, and her website is studio-miranda.com.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Are you taking part in the #giftalong2014? There are so many wonderful prizes to be won and a great chatty knit along happening over in the Ravelry group. Pop over and say hi. 

Happy knitting,

Clare

#giftalong2014 Are You Taking Part?

The discount period for the #giftalong2014 might be over now but the fun is only just beginning over in the knit-along boards. There is so much activity sometimes it is hard to keep up. I love watching everyones projects take shape. Have you joined the group on Ravelry yet? Click here for all the details. 

Remember there are lots of prizes to be won and some exciting games to play in the knit-along. All paid for patterns from participating designers are eligible for knit-along entries.

The knit-along lasts until the 31st December at midnight EST. 

Are you taking part? What are you knitting?

I would love to hear about your general knitting adventures. 

I have some deadline knitting to get out of the way but I am itching to cast on some mitts by Laura Aylor called Spiced Cocoa (I might have mentioned these mitts a few times recently, I am rather obsessed with them). I also have my eye on a Artisan by Elizabeth Felgate, a squishy garter stitch jumper (although I doubt that will be finished by the end of December).

Copyright Laura Aylor

Spiced Cocoa. Copyright Laura Aylor

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I am yet to decide on what I am gift knitting for this year. I think I will be keeping it very low key as I have lots of deadline knitting to do too. Definitely a hat for the little one in my life and something for my mom (she is very knit worthy) – maybe I will make some Spiced Cocoa Mitts for her too.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happy Knitting.

Clare

x

My Top 10 “Hands and Feet” Knits #giftalong2014

Hope your week is going well. The #giftalong2014 is going very well on Ravelry and lots of folk are already finishing their WIPS (works in progress) and posting them in the forums. Pop over and have a look, and while you are there you might want to join in with the chatter in the threads.

Today I have some of my favourite knits for keeping hands and feet warm.

My personal knitting time is limited these days but I definitely want to knit myself these mitts Spiced Cocoa by Laura Aylor. I love the angle created by the fabric on the Spiced Cocoa mitts. I have the perfect Rainbow Heirloom yarn for these in my stash.

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I love the slightly unusual combination of garter stitch and cables featured in Side by Side by Katya Frankel

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Jenise Reid is a very talented design and the clever construction of these mitts is testament to her thoughtful design process. Pull Mitts are knitted on the bias and fit beautifully. They are definitely on my “to-knit” list.

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I am a great admirer of colourwork and these mittens really struck a chord with me. I am an African girl at heart, and no matter how long I am away from my home there is something majestic about the long neck of a giraffe and the idea of an African sunset that will always capture my imagination. Giraffes at Sunset by Erica Mount really are a stunning example of colourwork. I love them.

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Strong lines created by twisted stitches and rib always draw me in. Sunshine Fingerless Mitts by Kate Bostwick are a stunning example of the structural beauty that these stitches produce.

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Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade has come up with another corker here. Her grey and yellow combo gets me every single time. These long length Global Nomad Handwarmers go with the cowl I featured the other day. I love how they can fold down or be pulled up over your fingers. A great, quick knit.

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Now that you have warm feet, let’s turn our attention to your feet.

Nobody likes cold feet.

I love socks, there is no denying that I am a sock fan. There are a few designers who constantly impress me with their design skills and Hunter Hammersen is one of them. She is a sock genius, her designs are majestic in their beauty. Many are not for the faint hearted, they are certainly not “mindless TV knitting” but they deliver on an aesthetic level like very few other designers do. Here are three of my favourites that are discounted for the #giftalong2014.

Crocus Vernus

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Chrysanthemum Frutescens

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Vanessa Antiopa

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Hunter also has these super cute little slippers, Quiescent, that I am very tempted to knit for myself after I make my all time favorite slippers by Jenise Reid.

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Here are those Jenise Reid slippers that have captured my heart, Persian Curled Toes Slippers. Unusual and just absolutely brilliant. I have bought the pattern and just need some free time to get started.

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I am not usually a leg warmer person but now that I live in the cold northern hemisphere I think I could become one. This cute pair by Lee Meredith could certainly sway me.  Twisted Ankles Lee Meredith. Worked in bulky yarn they must be a very quick knit. I love that they button behind your legs, perfect for whipping on and off. I bet they are great for cycling (hmmmm I think I should cast some of these on for my daily bike rides in Edinburgh).

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Last, but certainly not least are a fabulous pair of socks Rainbow Pipes and Linen Stitch Socks by Aurelie Colas. These rainbow socks really make me smile. I love how Aurelie has incorporated linen stitch and the combination of grey and rainbow colours couldn’t fail to brighten your day.

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This was bound to be a bumper post. There are so many wonderful designs out there at the moment. Mittens, fingerless gloves, socks and slippers make perfect gifts for other (and for yourself). What are you waiting for – cast on!

Don’t forget the #giftalong2014 sale ends at midnight (EST) tomorrow 21st November. Until then a fantastic selection of patterns are 25%.

I have 19 designs featured in the discount promotion. Including Edina, the fingerless mitts and Maryfield, the cute lace cuffs from the Head to Toe collection. 

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Have a wonderful Friday.

Happy knitting,

Clare

 

Earl Grey (new design) and a free pattern

Hi there,

The week is moving swiftly along and I thought I would drop past on this lovely Wednesday to share two new releases with you.

The first is my new hat pattern, Earl Grey. Designed for a cable workshop I instantly fell in love with the cables (and pom pom opportunity) and knew I needed to release this as a new hat pattern.

Earl Grey works up quickly in squishy aran weight yarn, resulting in the perfect cabled hat. Great for gift knitting and equally good for keeping your head toasty this winter.

Earl Grey_Hat_Brigantia1 copy_with text

 The pattern is 50% off until midnight 23rd November with the code “blog50”.

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Jess made a fabulous sample in her new Super Sheep Aran base. We are calling this one ‘mint tea’ and look at that pom pom! We have so much love for the pom pom at the moment.

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We were even joined by a beautiful rainbow when I went to take pictures of Jess in her hat this morning.

Earl Grey_Hat_GHD_Selkie01

 

My second release is a quick and easy freebie. This pattern is used in one of the workshops I teach at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh and I wanted to share it with all my lovely blog readers.

Toasty. The perfect chunky cowl. 

Download your copy of Toasty for free, here.

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Hope you have a wonderful day.

Happy knitting,

Clare

x

New Pattern: Lapsang

pssst …. scroll down for a fab introductory offer on this new pattern

Brrrrrr – it’s cold out there folks. It is time for some serious knitwear. When I picked up this skein of Eden Cottage Maya at Yarndale I knew I wanted to quick, easy knit that was going to wrap me in warmth and show off the gorgeous colourway, Dark Stone. I designed this hat just for me, but I loved it so much I thought I would share it with you all too.

Lapsang_ECY_low res3

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Please welcome Lapsang!

The perfect chunky hat. It works up in a flash and is fabulous in drapey Alpaca or springy Merino. Best of all it is reversible, completely reversible! One side is a little more feminine that the other. I think this is a truly unisex hat though, it all just depends on what yarn you pick. Jess from Ginger Twist Studio has worked up two samples in her fabulous yarn.

Ginger’s Hand Dyed Chunky Baby, in a soft muted grey, Dove. With the addition of the most amazing pom pom I have ever seen. I LOVE this example of Lapsang.

Lapsang_low res_21

 

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She also whipped up a bright and cheerful version in Ginger’s Hand Dyed Flumps Chunky, a bouncy Merino. This one really shows off how reversible the hat is.

Lapsang_low res_05

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As a special introductory offer I have set up a discount code.

You will get 33% off the usual price of £3 until midnight 16th November GMT. Use the code “blog33” at the Ravelry check out.

Happy knitting.

Clare

x

Celebrate Wool

I am still reeling from the news that it is November, but that is another story all together. The fact it is November may have terrified me but it brings with it some very exciting news and lots of lovely knitwear opportunities thanks to the approaching winter weather.

To celebrate a warm and woolly November I want to give a shout out to the fantastic initiative that is “Wovember”. A truly wonderful celebration of all things wool. Pop over and have a look.

Wovember_www 

Part of the Wovember team is the ever wonderful Louise from Knit British. If there is someone who knows a bit about wool, and more specifically fantastic British wool. Louise is your gal. Her blog and podcast are fantastic resources for those wanting to know more about (British) wool. 

Knit British

 

If you are worried that knitting with wool might be an expensive habit check out her fabulous features on British yarns for under a tenner and a fiver. 

Finally, I’m very excited about some simply stunning British wool that has been running through my fingers (and around my needles) recently and can’t wait to share the details with you this Friday. Louise also has a special interview on her blog with Jess from Ginger’s Hand Dyed about our new exciting project. Make sure you book mark Friday 7th of November in your diary to get the scoop on the latest news from your favourite Edinburgh woolly duo.

Hope you have a fabulous week.

Happy knitting.

Clare

x

In the knitting basket

It has been far too long since I shared any of my works in progress with you. Today it is all about texture.

First up two personal knitting projects. They are both plodding along very slowly, but there is nothing wrong with a slow knit.

Parachutey by Stephen West in Kalinka Linen. The colours in this top make my heart sing (and dance and stomp about in pure glee). The linen is interesting to work with and my wrists can take a bit of a beating after a while but the resulting fabric is magnificent.

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Next up is the Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart. I am knitting this in the most amazingly soft yarn from Kettle Yarn Co – Westminster (50% silk / 50% baby Camel). I love how the eyelets give a wonderfully simple textured detail to this beautiful design. Letting the yarn shiny in all its glory.

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Next up I have two new designs I am working on. These will be with you in a few weeks.

First up are some socks knitted in Hartlam Calvinia in the colourway “I Dare You”. Knitted from the top down they include all the elements I love in socks at the moment.  A little bit of lace, a whole lot of rhythm and texture, oh glorious texture. My new favourite heel, the garter short row adds to the smorgasbord of texture going on here. Watch this space for details on their release.

Texture_08

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Last but certainly not least is a cowl knitted in fabulous yarn from Ginger’s Hand Dyed in Edinburgh. Combining two of her gorgeous DK bases in perfect winter hues this reversible cowl looks far more complicated than it actually is. This project is perfect for mixing and matching single skeins of yarn and would work for sock, DK, aran and chunky. Keep your colour palette neutral or go wild with colour. More details soon.

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What are you knitting at the moment?

The moment when something screams “knit me”

I really do love the moment when something comes across my desk and it just screams “knit me”. During my Saturday morning editing stint there were two such moments. In all honesty it took a lot of restraint to not down tools, dig in the stash box and start swatching.

Now they are both live on Ravelry I just had to share them with you. They are both very special in their own way and I could not help but shout about them.

The first combines many of my knitting loves; lace weight yarn, beautiful stylish shapes in airy fabric and the clever use of techniques, think i-cords and ways of combining yarn that you don’t see very often. Pellucid by Dieuwke van Mulligen is something really special. 

Copyright: Dieuwke van Mulligen. Used with permission.

Copyright: Dieuwke van Mulligen. Used with permission.

Using Fyberspates Gleem Lace (55% wool / 45% silk) this would be a luxurious and stylish addition to your autumn wardrobe and with some clever layering it could take you through winter and pop you out into spring again (yes, I am already thinking of spring and autumn only just started – that is the Southern Hemisphere in me).

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I am seriously tempted to cast this on, I have two shades of grey lace weight that I think would work very well together.

The next design is another pattern that I feel will soon be adorning my needles with some sumptuous grey yarn. David O’Kelly (the lovely partner of Victoria Magnus from Eden Cottage Yarns) launched Quadratic over the weekend. It is an excellent example of how a simple concept can transform into something quite magical with the right combination of shape, yarn and colour.

Copyright: Victoria Magnus / David O'Kelly. Used with permission.

Copyright: Victoria Magnus / David O’Kelly. Used with permission.

A triangular shawl knitted from the bottom up in squishing garter stitch with bands of stocking stitch featuring luxurious Hayton (MCN) in a steely grey and bright Autumn shades in BFL Sock. What’s not to love.

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I can see myself knitting one of these in a skein of yarn from The Golden Skein, I have the perfect grey main colour. To top it off I have some silk / merino mini skeins I bought at Unwind that would make the perfect stripes. I might cast this on for my trip to Yarndale in a few weeks. It would make the perfect train knitting project.

This pattern is 50% off until midnight on the 6th of September with the code QUAD50.

There are so many new patterns on Ravelry this week. Have you spotted anything that screams “Knit me”?

Happy knitting.

Cx