Liz Corke Knit Design
I’ve finished nothing for ages! I’m starting to feel a little bad about it I have to confess. WIPs are piling up around me. Quincy has no hope of a second leg yet, the Mystery KAL is languishing in my knitting drawer, Daphne hasn’t seen daylight for weeks! Young Einstein has made progress though and with a bit of luck I’ll have it done this weekend. I’ve just divided for the sleeves and I have about 7 inches more of the cardigan to knit, plus the sleeves and the collar, but it’s moving along nicely and I’m happy with my progress.
The only thing I’ve finished in the last few weeks is Storm Warning, which I finished on the 12th – just in time for Ravellenics, but hadn’t shown you until Tuesday. I’m going to talk more about my design process today so it’s still interesting if you’ve already read Tuesday’s post! If you haven’t, read this post first, then go and sign up for the giveaway if you like it! I’m giving one copy of the pattern away , just let my know what yarn you’d knit it with, and you’ll be entered into a random draw on Tuesday 4th (next week).
Storm Warning is my second design. I really love how it’s turned out! It’s knit sideways so you get the maximum use out of your yarn. I designed this one in a completely different way to my first shawl. With Flying Without Wings I knew I wanted to design a shawl using a feather pattern, and then I set to work to design it, working from the bottom up – my favourite style. With Storm Warning, I was designing it for the HPKCHC and for Ravellenics. I wanted to knit a shawl that could get into as many different categories as possible.
Firstly I knew I wanted to make a shawl, so I just had to pick other categories to go with it. I had a gorgeous skein of Old Maiden Aunt Merino/Silk that I wanted to use, so it was going to be a single skien shawl. Along with that my options were lace, cables and beads, since I didn’t want to give it to charity, and wasn’t sure about giving it as a gift. A search of the patterns on Ravelry didn’t bring up anything I liked so I had to set off to make my own. The first thing I did was find out about using beads since I’d never done that before. Research discovered, on a link I’ve now lost, that size 6/0 seed beads are perfect for fingering weight yarn, that prestringing could rub delicate yarns like silk blends and that dark beads add depth. So I went bead shopping and got some gorgeous gunmetal seed beads that I thought would be perfect.
The next challenge was the cable. There are hundreds of cable patterns out there! I decided on the width I wanted my cables to be, and did swatches of the cables I particularly liked. I settled on a plaited cable simply because I love plaits. My hair was always plaited for parties as a child and I even had plaits on my wedding day. They’re classic, not too showy yet not boringly simple and I love them! It’s also pretty easy to follw where you are in the pattern with the plaits and easy to see which way you should be crossing the stitches for the cable.
Now I had my cable I knew what my pattern repeat would be and the challenge was to make lace that would fit into the repeat, have space for beads, be delicate and simple and not too showy. I decided to separate the lace and cables with a row of eyelets. These eyelets gave me a constantly growing border so I decided to offset that with bind offs every few rows. The result has the same sort of shape as sawtooth lace. The last stage was to do lots of swatching and figure out which stitch was best to add the bead to. The method I shose to use to add the bead was with a tiny steel crochet hook, and I included a photo tutorial in the pattern for anyone who was new to beading.
The last thing to do was put it all together and knit it! I managed in just over a fortnight which makes it one of my fastest shawls ever. Pattern writing does seem to be getting easier with time. Although this pattern was easier than my first, I did find it a little trickier to work out how to phrase things. I think our photography is improving too. My husband is in charge of doing the photos while I model. It’s pretty hard for me because I hate being in front of the camera! I’m also not keen on losing control over how the photos look, but with time we are starting to work out what works for both of us – like not getting my face in the photo because I invariably have a squint or my mouth open or I’m pulling a face! We took these photos in one of our local parks and the rhododendron bushes made a great back drop.
Check out what everyone else has been up to over on giveaway!
This is a very exciting week for me because on Monday I released my second pattern, Storm Warning! I’m having a giveaway for a copy of the pattern here if you’d like to enter. I’ve been pretty blown away by the response to the pattern, thank you all for your comments on it!
On the needles this week I have Young Einstein for my friend’s baby boy, Finn. After washing, the 4.5mm needle swatch came out to 21 stitches in 4 inches and the 5mm one was 19 stitches. So I’ve decided to go with the 4.5mm needles and I should be able to block it out to the right size without any trouble. I like the stitches better with this needle and I’m sure my moss stitch border would be pretty loose with the bigger needles. I haven’t got very far with it so I didn’t take any photos last night, but you can see the swatch for the colour. I’ve done about 9 rows and just started the increases for the arms. I’m doing it with a collar because I think it’s cutest that way!
I’m not working on much else this week. Quincy still only has one leg and I haven’t cast on a second yet. I want to focus on getting the baby’s jacket done by the 15th of September, so I’m letting other things slide until I get a little further along. I’ve also been busy getting my pattern ready for release. I’m between books again at the moment, so I’ll be reading all of your posts for inspiration!
I’m pretty excited today because last night I released my second design, Storm Warning! I gave you a couple of teasers of this one earlier in the month under the temporary name of “Ravellenics Shawl”. It seemed to take me forever to find a name that I liked and that I felt fitted it, as well as being fairly unique. Names are not my strong point!
I knitted this shawl with a gorgeous skien of Old Maiden Aunt Merino/Silk. I only had 400 yards and needed something really gorgeous for it, and someway to get the most out of my yarn without worrying about running out. Sideways shawls let you use up almost every yard which sounded perfect to me! I’ve been wanting to try beading for ages too and cables are one of my favourite features in knitting so it all came together as Storm Warning without too much hair pulling!
My first difficulty was to choose a cable that I liked the look of and there are a lot of cable patterns out there! I wanted something more complicated than a simple twist, but not something too chunky and heavy. Once I’d chosen a cable, I could work out how long my pattern repeats would be, and I designed a lace pattern to go with it. I wanted my lace to give shape to the edge, rather than just being flat, so I decided to use a series of increases and bind offs. Bead placement was the next problem. I experimented with a few different ways of placing them on the stitch and found something I liked. I decided to place the beads as I went rather than prestringing them as I was concerned about rubbing the yarn too much.
The pattern is both written and charted. I wanted to make sure I had everyone covered with their favourite way to read the pattern, but I was stumped for a little while before I worked out how I wanted to chart a pattern that was constantly growing on one side and shrinking on the other. I also included a photo tutorial for the beading so that anyone can give it a go!
And that brings us to the important part – the giveaway! I’m giving away one pattern for free to one lucky winner. You don’t need to have a Ravelry account, but I will need a working email address I can send the pattern to. The pattern will be gifted through Ravelry. The usual rights apply – the pattern must not be sold, or given away, etc – what you do with the finished shawl however is up to you! To enter post a comment telling me what yarn you would use to make this shawl – it can be yarn you have in your stash or your dream yarn, it’s up to you! Please do make sure I have someway of contacting you if you win! The winner will be picked by random number generator on the 4th of September – that’s exactly one week!
Mondays are always so much effort! I love my weekend lie ins, and getting up early in the morning is not my favourite thing to do. I’m a night owl really, but if I get to work by eight I can go home at four and that is definitely worth it to me!
I still haven’t cast on for the baby cardigan. I must be a really tight knitter because I can never get guage. I got 22 stitches with my 4.5mm needles and 21 stitches with my 5mm needles. What I need is 20 stitches, and I really don’t want to go up another needle size because then I think it will be too tight. I’m going to wash the swatch, cross my fingers and hope that it loosens up for me. I’m aiming to get it finished by the 15th of September, because another friend will be able to take it down to the new mother for me, which would be better than posting it.
Quincy has one leg. I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out. It used a fraction less than one repeat, so his legs will be slightly miss-matching.I really like how the foot has turned out. It was a little tricky when I was picking up stitches on the heel, and I think I might have made a couple of mistakes but the stitch count was right all the time and there’s no stuffing showing through, so I’m happy with it. I think I might stuff the bottom half of his body a bit more and see if that can give him a little more shape. I think arms will help with that too. The face is still undecided though. He’s safety pinned together for now to make sure I don’t loose any parts!
I got some new yarn on Friday. It’s Fyberspates Rustic charm and absolutely gorgeous. The yarn is a Blue Faced Leicester/Cashmere/Silk blend and I’m really looking forward to knitting with it. It’s going to be my next shawl and the ideas for the design are rapidly changing and undergoing development in my head. This is going to be my OWL for the September – November HPKCHC term. It took me about three hours to turn the first skein into a center pull ball. I showed my husband a video of someone using a swift and a ball winder to make which he thought was pretty amazing, so I have a swift and a ball winder on the way for my birthday present! They’re coming from America but hopefully they’ll be here in the next three weeks. All the rest of my skeins can wait until then! I’m on a yarn diet for the next few months too now…
I’m starting to think about Christmas presents now. I’m doing mixed bags or boxes for the girls again, which is always a lot of fun. I’ve already got body sprays from the Body Shop for everyone – we went to the outlet store on the way back from our holiday and got them for about half price. My soap making book has just arrived at home so I’m looking forward to reading that later and making soap for everyone, and I’ve chosen the toys I’m going to make. Last year I made everyone a little knit bunny. This year I’m going to make Holly, Ivy and Steve. I’ve had the pattern a little while. It’s for sock yarn, but I’ll be using my acrylic dk stash. I think they’re super cute. I have two groups of three – three friends, and my two sisters in law, plus brother in laws girlfriend, so they’ll I’ll make all the monsters twice, then pick my favourite a third time for my brother’s girlfriend.
Year of Projects Lists 2012-13
Two or three (or more) but no patterns picked yet
Use up cotton for face cloths – 88 yrds/574 yrds used!
Use up Stash – 137.4 yards used!
Do more colour work!
My husband and I went jogging again last night. I’m pleased to say it was a bit easier this time, since I shifted my cold and I could breathe through my nose again! I’m working on lengthening my hamstrings again, because I’ve worn high heels for far too long, and it’s shortened my hamstrings, which means wearing flat shoes, especially while going up hill can be quite painfull. My next plan is to clear enough space to get my yoga mat out again and do yoga on our “rest” days between the jogging days.
On the subject of clearing space, I’m not a tidy person. I like things to be tidy, but fundamentally I’m quite lazy and tend to just put things down where it’s easy. This resulted in a mound of papers and yarn, and assorted other things on (and under) the little table next to my desk. So I’ve had a grand clean up and reorganisation! We had a set of wire drawers that have been sitting around with no purpose for a little while, so they are now set up next to my desk and highly organised (apart from the things on top). On top of it are some envelopes and tarot cards that don’t have a home yet, tissues, my yarn bowl (all ready to start the baby cardigan after the swatch is washed), the cowl swatch that isn’t working for me, Quincy’s body and my needle case. Most of them should live in the top drawer, but I didn’t put them away last night!
The top drawer is for knitting. Currently it is full of yarn for various projects I’m working on now, or starting in the next couple of months, when the HPKCHC starts again. It keeps everything neat and tidy and where I can get at it easily and hopefully without my yarns tying themselves together. The blue yarn is for my wintery lacey tunic. I really love the colour, although I do seem to be on a blue and green kick just now! The green is for the baby cardigan, silver is the Mystery KAL, red is for a shawl for one of my friends and the project bag holds Daphne. I really like seeing all my yarn together and knowing what I’m going to be working on and it helps me keep my plans straight.
The second drawer is for patterns. I have a few printed patterns, although I mostly just put the pdfs on my computer, netbook and phone and carry them round with my that way. Mostly its for my pattern writing so I can keep everything together. I have two stitch dictionaries in there under my notebook, because I like to have them in easy reach for sudden inspiration! I have a pad of squared paper for drawing out my charts, and the notebook on top is where I scribble down ideas and sketches when they come into my head. I also have my scissors – in easy reach but safetly away from my yarn, and my scales.
The third drawer holds my sewing things, like fabric and interfacing, felt and other things that seemed to fit in it. The bottom drawer is a little bit of everything, like my headphones, the spirograph I’ve had since I was about 6, origami paper, wire and anything else that doesn’t have a home yet! I’ve also been sorting out my stash. I used to have it in two plastic boxes like this one, but only one had a lid, and the other had started to overflow! Now this box is holding my “nice” yarn. Yarn from indie dyers, or non-acrylic brand yarns.
This box was “reclaimed” from under the bed last weekend. Most of what was in it will shortly be sent off to the charity shop, and now it holds pretty much all my acrylic yarns, especially the masses that are now becoming monsters. This box also has wheels which is pretty handy. I’ll be storing my yarn under the bed once I’m finished tidying through there. I’m really happy with how my tidying’s been going so far, and now that the yarn is sorted, I need to move on to the rest of the house – which won’t be quite as much fun!
Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!
My husband and I have just started jogging in an effort to get fit. I can’t say I’m enjoying it yet, but it’s not too bad. We have a nature reserve right behind our house at the edge of the city, and we startled a deer last night who bounced across the path, then stared at us from under a tree. I did know that we had deer around, as last winter one crossed the road on our street in front of me on my way to work, but it is a bit surreal seeing them so close to the city!
Quincey has made progress although he looks even more like a sock now, or possibly mittens with no thumb. The first time I closed him up at the top, I discovered that I’d dropped a stitch while doing the three needle bind off (which I do with a crochet hook. I actually do pretty much all my bind offs with a crochet hook because I find it easier!). There were also ladders between the two k2tog stitches where the needles met, so I ripped back the last five rows and changed the second k2tog to a ssk which helped a lot. I did still have a tiny ladder between the stitches but it was really easy to close up with the tail left when I bound off (successfully and without any dropped stitches). You can’t see it in the photo, but when I bound off I’d just reached the green stripe again. I got nearly two whole pattern repeats in to his body. I cast on the first of his legs after I took the photos. I might try and get matching legs or I might just see what happens. I haven’t decided yet. I also need to decide whether I’m giving him to my friend for her baby so I can decide whether he can have saftey eyes, or needs baby safe ones.
And speaking of my friend’s baby (who is a boy and named Finn), the yarn for his little jumper arrived yesterday and I’ve started swatching. I’m using Rowan Handknit Cotton. I quite like working with cotton and this way I know that it’ll be safe in the washing machine and shouldn’t cause any allergy problems. I’m always a bit nervous about making things for other people because I’m not sure how sensitive they are to wool, and I want things to be easy to care for. So far my swatch is looking too small. I’m getting 24 stitches in 4 inches instead of 20. I’m going to make it a bit bigger, then I’ll try with a 5mm needle for a bit and see how I like that. Then I’ll wash it and hope it grows a bit and I can use the 4.5mm needle after all! I can never get guage on anything! I’m going to be making Young Einstein in the 6 month size, because I’m not sure how big he is, and I’d rather leave growing room, than have it fit him for a week and then grow out of it. I’m making it with the wide collar, but not the hood. There’s so many customising options for this jumper that I haven’t decided on any others yet!
My reading currently is Ghosts of Ascalon. It’s a fantasy book and is a prequel to the Guild Wars 2 game which is about to come out. My husband is very excited about the game, and constantly giving my countdowns to when we can play (Saturday), a little like a kid on the run up to Christmas! I’m really enjoying it so far. The book launches you straight into the middle of an adventure, which I love because it lets you get to grips with the characters and the story straight away, rather than having a slow build up to the point where something happens. I’m only on chapter nine and I don’t think I’ll finish it before Saturday, but I’m prepared to give it a go!
I’m getting back into regular blogging again. Holidays always throw my routine off and getting back into it can be tricky! My knitting hasn’t quite been going to plan either but plans are over rated anyway!
This week I’ve cast on something new. It’s not a sock, although he does look like one at this stage! This is Quentin and I’m nearly at the point where I can start to close the top. He’s 7″ long so far and when I get to 8″ I’ll go back and count my rows. Some of the stripes are a bit longer than I was expecting but I like how he’s turning out just the same. I’m using Wendy Happy yarn in Scorpio. I really like the yarn – it’s a bamboo/nylon blend, and should be machine washable. I don’t really want to make toys that can’t go in the sewing machine!
I really needed to do some plain knitting this weekend, since nothing seemed to be working out for me recently. I’ve got three balls of Wendy Happy so there may also be a Quade and a Quincey in my future. I’ve never used such small needles before, and I’m not quite sure why I bought a pair of 2.25mm needles in the first place, but I’m glad I’ve got them now!
As for the other things on the needles. Daphne is still languishing. I haven’t had her out recently because I didn’t want to deal with two colours of yarn. I also suspect that I’ve been pulling my floats too tight, and I might be better off frogging a few stripes. The Mystery KAL is giving me problems too. When I did the Rocketship Shawl ages ago, I had problems with loose stitches where I changed from knit to purl, and I’m having the same problems now. Knitting tighter helps a bit, but I’m a tight knitter anyway so making an effort to knit tighter on those changes hurts my hands. I might from this one and start again with a smaller needle which might help. I don’t have problems with swapping between knit and purl with thicker yarns, so I think it’s mostly a consequence of using larger needles for a nice drapey lace shawl.
The pattern testing for the shawl you haven’t seen yet, seems to be going well, without too many problems being thrown up. I haven’t got yarn yet for the next design that’s been buzzing around my head for a month. I’m trying to find a really nice green – I seem to be stuck on green just now, lol, so I’m going to wait till Friday and see what’s in the Posh Yarn preview. I also got yarn this weekend. One of my friends has just had a little boy, so I’ve got some green (there it is again!) cotton coming that I’ll use for a Young Einstien. I’m making the 6 month size so that there’s growing room and if I can get it done by the 15th of September, which shouldn’t be too hard, I’ll see another friend that can take it down to her. He might also get Quincey if he’s done on time and I can successfully sew on baby safe eyes. Yarn is also coming for a second Lacey Tunic. This one I’m doing with aran weight wool, so I should get guage this time. I’m going to do it with the cowl neck too, and hopefully have enough yarn for three quarter or full length sleeves.
Year of Projects Lists 2012-13
Two or three (or more) but no patterns picked yet
Use up cotton for face cloths – 88 yrds/574 yrds used!
Use up Stash – 137.4/8300 yards used!
Do more colour work!
I feel a bit like my holiday has knocked me out of the habit of blogging, so I’m going to have to make a bigger effort to get back into it. I did finish my Ravellenics Shawl in time for medals before the closing ceremonies, and normally today would be the day I show it to you. It’s in testing now, although it still hasn’t got a proper name, so I’m going to save posting it for when the pattern comes out, and it has a real name. I’m hoping to release it at the start of September, right after testing is over although if testing finishes early I can release it early.
I’m really enjoying designing, although I find that I have too many ideas! I have ideas for five more shawls and two cowls and there’s no way I can work on everything at once. I’m going to have to start carrying notebooks with me everywhere I think, so I can write things down as I go. My next design is going to be one of the two cowl patterns I mentioned and I’ll be releasing it for free. I’ve been swatching which I’ve being enjoying because it’s a nice change from doing huge shawls, and I can’t seem to get on with the Mystery KAL I’m doing. Knitting small things is a nice break!
The cowl is going to be in aran weight yarn, so it should knit up pretty quickly and it’s going to have a knit/purl pattern rather than lace. I’m going to do it exactly like my shawl patterns, with written instructions, charts and I think the stitch pattern could do with a photo tutorial. I want it to be like a sample pattern. I know that when I’m looking at new designers, it’s nice (although certainly not essential) to be able to see their style of pattern writing before buying one – even if I don’t intend to knit the free pattern. I’m really looking forward to getting started after I’ve finished my swatches and math. I have to confess though at this point I haven’t gone and checked on Ravelry to see if there are any cowls using the stitch pattern I plan to use, so I may have to change my mind. Hopefully by Monday/Wednesday I’ll have some swatches to show you.
It feels like ages since I’ve blogged! I missed Sunday/Monday’s Year of Projects post too, so I’m combining it with todays WIP and Yarn Along post. It’s probably going to be a long one today! We went down to my parents on Sunday to give the car back after our holiday, but before we did that, we went to Duthie Park and did a quick photo shoot. My Flying Without Wings pattern now has much nicer photos, and we got some photos of my Ravellenics Shawl which I got finished on Saturday night. Sunday night was given over to writing the pattern for “The Shawl with No Name” as it’s now known – hopefully a name will spring in to my mind before the testing finishes! And then all I wanted to do was spend sometime knitting something else, so I put off posting till today, when I’m finally (unfortunately) back to work.
I finally cast on for the Dandelion on a Meadow mystery KAL on Monday, but I decided that I couldn’t stand the yarn I was using for it. I was using Knit Picks Palette, which I’ve used before and liked. This time though it felt like the yarn was sticking to my fingers and felt quite scratchy. I swatched one repeat of the pattern, but I also felt like the yarn was too dark to show the pattern nicely without strong lighting to show up the knit and purls. So I’ve cast on again with Rowan Pure Wool, and I’m happier with how it’s going this time. If you don’t want to see the pattern, then scroll past the next paragraph!
I really love this pattern so far. I’m going to keep the swatch and use it every time a new clue comes out. That way I’ll know any tricky stitches that are coming up and can see what I’m about to do. I really love the wrapped stitches at the top and the texture it produces, and the eyelets on either side of it make it stand out really nicely. I think the silvery grey will show up the pattern much better in normal day light – rather than my nicely exposed light box!
Daphne hasn’t made any progress recently so I think I’m going to have to do a big push on her once I get caught up on the mystry KAL. One of my friends finally had her baby on Sunday – he was 12 days late in the end, so I’m thinking of making a Young Einstein for him in a 6 month or so size, so he can grow into it and hopefully get more use out of it in winter.
Reading wise, I’ve gone on a Jane Austen kick. I finished Lady Susan and I think the next one I read will be Northanger Abbey because I haven’t read it for ages!
Year of Projects Lists 2012-13
Two or three (or more) but no patterns picked yet
I took so many pictures of this one that I might have to fit some in at the end! I got my sewing machine out again this week and finally made those double sided bags I talked about ages ago. I really love how the first one has turned out, and I have plenty of fabric to make at least three more. I did come across many challenges when I was making these. First off was not using a pattern, and not touching a measuring tape. I really should learn to measure when I’m sewing and not just go by instinct! Secondly, the fabric I have is more “fat quarters” and these ones, no matter how I folded them, were not the right shape for a bag – I could have had a hugely deep bag with a (comparatively) tiny opening, or I could have had a really really wide bag that was only a few inches deep.
Clearly neither of these options was great, so I had to come up with another solution. I was a bit concerned about having stripes go both ways, but now that it’s finished, I really like how the horizontal stripes have come out. They were also perfect for putting the pockets on, because vertical stripes on top of vertical stripes were doing some very strange things to my eyes when I laid them out. The pockets are the perfect size which was pretty lucky considering they were made from the off cuts of the horizontal panel! I managed to use up the whole of each piece of fabric on this bag. The pockets can easily fit all the bits and pieces I might need while working on a project – stitch markers, crochet hooks, spare needles and all the rest of it!
I did make one annoying mistake – each time I did the button flap I forgot to attach the elastic and had to sew it on afterwards. The first time wasn’t so bad, but the second was silly! I made two pouches then put one inside the other wrong side to wrong side, tucked in a hem, and then I stitched it up around the outside, then did another go around a bit further to make a pocket for the drawstring. Once I’d done all that I ripped out one of my seams between the two lines of stitching. It was much easier than trying to leave a gap for it when I was sewing the rest up.
I reallylove how the bag turned out and it’s coming away with me on holiday this week. I did have a problem when my sewing machine jammed. I think a piece of thread broke off and got tangled inside. It was really frustrating but I did eventually get it sorted out. I’m going to make a couple more of these bags I think, and train myself to keep my projects in them. Pink and light green and red and dark green are the other colours I have to use. This one is my Irn Bru bag in orange and blue. If you haven’t tried Irn Bru you really should, it’s our second national drink and according to wikipedia “can usually be purchased where there is a significant community of people from Scotland”.
Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!
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