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

 

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Meet The Designer #giftalong2014 (it’s me)

Hope you are having a good weekend. Things here are off to a slow start but that is how I like my Saturday morning.

After some intense deadline knitting over the last week I have a beautiful new secret project blocking and a little bit of breathing time to knit something that isn’t on a deadline. This is a wonderful feeling.

Last night I did a few rounds on my latest personal project, a very bright version of Snell. I am knitting this to wear on my bike as I cycle around Edinburgh. It is hopefully going to keep my neck warm and tone down my very bright luminous high visibility jacket (although I think I need to accept that nothing will ever tone that beast of a jacket down).

My Snell is being worked in Rainbow Heirloom. The “Sweater” base is a fabulous yarn is the colourways Highlighter and Grey Whale. I will be doing a full review of this yarn once I have worked with it for a little longer. Although I can already add that I knitted a hat for my little girl in the “Almost Spring” colourway and it is brilliant. The yarn blocks beautifully and wears really well.

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I also wanted to let you know about a lovely interview that Sashka Knits just did with me as part of the Ravelry #giftalong2014 event. You can read her interview on the Sashka Knits blog, click here to pop over to her little corner of the internet. 

Finally I am taking part in a very exciting KAL starting next week. More details on that tomorrow.

What are you working on at the moment? I love to hear about your projects.

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

 

My Top 10 “Neck Knits” #giftalong2014

In keeping with my #giftalong2014 theme I have selected some of my favourite “neck knits”. Ravelry is bursting with amazing cowls, shawls and scarves. Here are my top ten from the discounted patterns in this years Indy giftalong.

I love cables and this unusual cable style is not something I have seen around much. Shannon Cook pairs the sophisticated cable with some stunning grey yarn. Lansbury, the perfect cowl is born.

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I used to knit more shawls than socks, even though I now find myself working on socks more than shawls I still have a soft spot for a good shawl pattern.

Someday by Hanna Maciejewska uses two skeins of fingering weight. Sideways, garter stitch and the contrasting border. This looks like it would be a great knit, easy but not boring and the finished shape is simply stunning.

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Hrim by Bristol Ivy is one of my favourite shawl patterns of the moment. I love the shape, the combination of the yarn weights and textures. I am planning on knitting one of these shawls for myself. I need to choose the yarn from my stash but I am hoping to use some silk from Dye for Yarn, I just need to decide what to mix it with. The other shawls in the Frost Fair collection are also on my “to knit” list. If you had not already gathered Bristol Ivy can do no wrong in my knitting world at the moment.

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I am not always a bit beaded shawl fan. I like simple clean lines and unfussy details. The Sunburst Shawl by Helen Stewart ticks all these boxes. The shape is beautiful, a wide crescent shaped shawl is very practical and flattering at the same time. Helen has added the perfect amount of sparkle here with beaded accents that give glitz and glamour without being over the top. The yarn she has chosen is also amazing, that subtle grey in a base I know well by Kettle Yarn Co. Shawl perfection!

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Chunky shawls are not the norm and I think chunky lace is often difficult to get right. Elizabeth Felgate has nailed it here though. Three balls of fabulous New Lanark Chunky and you have a warm and cosy wrap for the winter. It is just what I need to keep me warm sitting at my desk this winter. The chunky yarn would also make a fabulously quick gift knit. 

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Garter stitch, stripes and unusual constructions. These two designs by Laura Aylor are quirky and fun. I love the concepts and squishy garter stitch always warms my heart.

Tuck wraps around your neck and ties at the back, meaning you can control the width easily and it will never mess up your hair.

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Hot Tea. Two layers of garter stitch! There is nothing more to add here. Two layers of garter stitch! (I had to repeat it because it makes me so excited). Squishy, stretchy and warm. Keep it plain and simple or go wild with stripes. Perfect for using up leftovers.

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Staying on the theme of textured stitches creating stunning cowls. I stumbled across this one by Galzanne Knits and instantly fell in love. The combination of slipped stitch rib and brioche stitch in Simply A Cowl work so well together.

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Another smorgasbord of texture in a cowl is Global Nomad, another fantastic knit by Helen Stewart. I won’t lie the grey and yellow drew me in, this is my favourite colour combination at the moment. The mixtures of textures and eyelets is a delight to the eye. Each panel works with the other while standing out on it’s own. I also love that is is worked in two colours, so many opportunities to play with colour combinations. Helen did a great podcast about Colour Theory recently, I found it really interesting.  

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Last, but certainly not least. A brilliant shawl by the very talented Jennifer Dassau. Rondelay has been on my knitting needles twice. I made one for my mother in law and then had to make another for myself. Rondelay is worked using short rows and comes from a series of short row shawl that are utterly brilliant. I highly recommend a look at Jennifer’s patterns.

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Don’t forget I also have a number of patterns in the #giftalong sale. You can find my 19 discounted patterns here. 

Brunswick is not only perfect for summer weather. It would also make a fabulous addition to your festive season party outfit. I am working on a heavier weight version of this pattern to be released in the coming weeks. If you buy the 4ply version now you will automatically get the heavier weight version when it is released.

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Happy knitting,

Clare

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Caught My Eye: Secretive Mittens

Winter is around the corner and warm hands are very much a focus of my knitting world at the moment. These mitts are perfect for keeping hands warm but allowing me to set my fingers free for things like bike riding and taking keys out of pockets.

© Hanna Tjukanov used with permission

© Hanna Tjukanov used with permission

Knitted in grey and yellow, what isn’t to love about this fabulous accessory, Secretive Mittens by Hanna Tjukanov, a Finnish knitwear designer. The hidden heart detail really makes me smile.

Available in two sizes (mens and women’s) the mittens and needing about 250 yds / 230 m of fingering weight yarn. The pattern costs Euro 3.75 (about £3).

© Hanna Tjukanov used with permission

© Hanna Tjukanov used with permission

Have you knitted any mittens this autumn in preparation for the winter months ahead?

These mitts also happen to be part of the Gift-a-long 2014 promotion and knit-a-long on Ravelry. I am taking part in this exciting event. There will be discounts, prizes, lots of knitting and friendly chatter. Keep an eye out later on for more information on the blog.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Caught My Eye: Black Tea

I am all about cables at the moment (cables and pom poms). I stubbled across this hat recently when researching cables for my workshop on cables and instantly fell in love. This hat is certainly on my list of hats to knit this autumn.

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Stylish and sophisticated, as so many of Thea Colmans designs are, this hat is a stunner. Black Tea is knitted using two strands of The Plucky Knitter Bellow (a cashmere blend). It must be the softest and warmest hat imaginable. You could also knit it in worsted (or a heavier DK, if you are in the UK) as The Plucky Knitter Primo Worsted is also listed in the pattern.

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The pattern is written for one size (20″ head) and is available as a single pattern for $6 (about £3.80) or as part of the book “With a splash … ” that has seven beautiful designs for $21. I also highly recommend looking at Thea’s other work as she has a brilliant eye for design and some very beautiful pieces of knitwear to create.

Have you knitted a cable hat this winter? Do you like to knit your cables with or without a cable needle?

Keep an eye out for my new design “Earl Grey” that is being released next week. Perfect for getting to grips with cables. 

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New Pattern: Snell

The temperature is dropping around these parts and while it is certainly not as cold as some parts of the world at the moment, I am really feeling the chill.

To keep the chill off your neck this winter you need a cowl, a thick sumptuous cowl.    Psst… I think I might have just the thing. 

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Introducing my latest design, Snell. A sumptuous, truly reversible cowl knitted with two luxurious skeins of DK. Perfect for showcasing stunning hand dyed yarn and using up single skeins of yarn with slightly different fibre contents.

Snell, is old scots for ‘intensely cold’ – and while the winter might get rather chilly (to say the least), this gorgeous cowl will keep you warm and toasty whatever the weather.

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The sample is knitted in a skein of Ginger’s Hand Dyed Humming DK (an Alpaca / Merino / Nylon blend) and a skein of Ginger’s Hand Dyed Sturdy Splendor (a Merino / Silk blend). The yarns really compliment each other, the sheen of the silk against the halo of the alpaca. You can use any two skeins you have in your stash though – this pattern is designed to help you set your single skeins free!

The slipped stitch pattern is easy to execute and the resulting fabric is truly reversible. The hems are worked as you knit and give the cowl a polished finish. The resulting fabric is warm and beautifully textured.

Available in two versions and easy to adjust too, this is the perfect winter accessory. Knit the long version and wear it wrapped double, or pulled up as a snood. Knit the short version for a more fitted cowl. Be bold and choose contrasting shades or opt for a more neutral choice of colours. What are you waiting for – stash dive and set those skeins free.

The pattern is available to download from my Ravelry store for £3

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What will you knit yours with?

Happy knitting.

Clare

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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.

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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.

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