Liz Corke Knit Design

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September 30, 2013

This is my absolute favourite cast on for anything that needs to stretch. I’m releasing a pattern for fingerless mitts tomorrow and I wanted to share this cast on with you all. It’s a variation on a long tail cast on, and this is how it works.

Alternating Cast On 1

1. Start by holding the yarn around your thumb and index finger. The ball
end should be round the thumb and the yarn tail round the index finger.

Alternating Cast On 2

2. Take the needle from the back of the hand under the yarn between your thumb and index finger and twist it through 180°.

Alternating Cast On 3

3. Take the needle tip under the yarn on your thumb.

Alternating Cast On 4

4. Next take the needle over, then under the yarn on your index finger.

Alternating Cast On 5

5. Bring the needle back through the thumb loop.

Alternating Cast On 6

6. Drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten the stitch.

Alternating Cast On 7

7. Pick up the yarn with your thumb, but this time it should go round the opposite way.

Alternating Cast On 8

8. Take the needle tip under the yarn on your thumb.

Alternating Cast On 9

9. Next take the needle over, then under the yarn on your index finger.

Alternating Cast On 10

10. Bring the needle back through the thumb loop, then drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten the stitch.

Alternating Cast On 11

Pick up the yarn as in step 2 and work from step 3 to 10 repeating until you have the required number of stitches. The stitches should be arranged neatly in pairs.

Once you’ve knit an inch or two of ribbing, test out how stretchy it is!

August 27, 2013

My new pattern is ready and I’m so excited to share it with you all at last! Like most of my other shawls it’s name is Greek. Aoide was the Titan muse of song and I love the name. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to design a shawl for her and here it is. I wonder if that makes her the muse of knitting pattern designers? She certainly inspired me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m completely in love with this one. The stockinette section is a really nice, relaxing knit perfect for the car or when you’re watching TV (and we all need one of those sometimes!) and the lace gives is a lovely feminine finish. This is another heart-shaped shawl – I’m not a fan of triangular shawls because I find they have to be huge to give me the wingspan I want for wrapping around nicely, but I love heart and crescent shaped shawls. If you’re careful to weigh your yarn before you start and after you finish, you should be able to get two shawls out of your yarn by swapping the main and contrast colours over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWorking out the maths for this one was a little tricky – I had to find the point where the stripes worked out evenly finishing on a contrast stripe, get enough stitches for the lace panel and not let the shawl get ridiculously big, but I got it figured out in the end as you can see! There were a couple of other challenges – the transition between the stockinette and lace was a little awkward in my swatches (as the yarn overs stretched back in to the stockinette) but the eyelet row was the perfect solution for that and tied in with the eyelet row at the end to pull everything together beautifully. The other challenge was working out the increases along the spine so that they worked nicely with the lace panel. I’m delighted with how it all came together!

The pattern is already up on Ravelry, Craftsy and here on my website, and it’s waiting for approval on Patternfish so it should be up within a couple of days. For the first two days (until 11.59 pm UK time on the 29th) you can get 50% off if you buy it from Ravelry or my website, so don’t wait too long!

August 15, 2013

If you tried to get on to the website at the weekend and couldn’t, I’m really sorry. Our old web hosting is having some problems just now, so we’ve moved our hosting somewhere new and hopefully won’t have any more problems. Luckily we have automatic backups of the site so we were able to get everything back up and where it should be without any problems! Some more updates before we get on to the main post – Philotes is now available on my website, Craftsy and Patternfish. The KAL is on and doesn’t finish until September 30th, so there’s plenty of time to come over and join the fun! I finished knitting the practice gloves I was telling you about a few weeks ago, and I’ll be blogging about them again soon to let you know what I liked (and didn’t) and I have a new pattern coming out at the end of the month so if you want to be the first to hear about it, sign up to my newsletter in the sidebar.

Philotes LayoutSomething I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks is redoing the layout for my patterns. While I like my current layout, I think it can be improved. There’s a lot to consider when puting together a pattern layout and one I hadn’t really thought about before is page size. In the UK and Europe we use A4 paper for most things. What I hadn’t thought about was that in the US and Canada Letter paper is the most common paper size. As this is slightly shorter than A4 I’m not sure how well my patterns print on letter paper. They may be a bit squashed vertically or may be missing the top and bottom of the page. However a letter sized page printed on A4 paper is likely to either be stretched vertically or have a little extra white at the top and bottom. Of the four options, laying out for letter size and printing on A4 with a little extra white space at the top and bottom is definately the best and is something I need to experiment with.

After paper size there’s loads of other things to consider – how many photos to include, font size, one column or two on a page, schematics (do people want them for accessories?). I’ve got a series of polls going in my Ravelry group here and I’m trying to find out what most people like. One of the biggest challenges is that fully written instructions for lace take up a lot of space just for one row. I want to please the most people I can, so please let me know what you think! If you have any great loves or pet hates I haven’t covered let me know them too!

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August 1, 2013

A year ago today I posted my first pattern on Ravelry! Today I have six patterns for sale, one about to start testing, two shawls charted and awaiting knitting, and my first non-shawl pattern waiting to hit the needles, as well as ideas for another four shawls and more coming. I’ve also set up my Ravelry group, website, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook page and I’m about to run my first KAL. I love designing and although it’s no where near the point at which I could consider it even a part time job, it’s something I want to continue to grow and expand. Over the last year I’ve sold 486 patterns across Ravelry, Craftsy and Patternfish so this seems like the perfect time to have a look at them.

Storm WarningStorm Warning has been everyone’s favourite over the last year! I was pretty stunned by how popular it was right off the mark. I really love this shawl and I still wear mine a lot. In particular it get’s a lot of use as a scarf in winter. I knit this one for the Ravellenics last year, and it was my first time using beads.

PhilotesPhilotes has been the second most popular and no one even has the pattern yet! Tomorrow a KAL is starting for this pattern and you can still get 50% off until midnight tonight if you’d like to join in. I’ll be sending the patten to everyone tonight before I go to bed. This is my first KAL and I’m really looking forward to it. There’s more beads, lace and cables here, inspired by Storm Warning, this pattern is a little more complex. I can see it being one of my favourite accessories this winter – the brown matches my winter coat!

Shattered StarsShattered Stars comes next in the popularity ranks. I love this shawl. I had the original idea back in November and it seemed to take forever before I could get it ready for publication – mostly because Anthousai took me so long! I had a lot of fun with this shawl and I’ve worn it a lot this summer. Coming up with the perfect name was a challenge too – I had to avoid naming it “Diamond Something” because practically every name was taken, so I did a lot of digging in to the mythology behind diamonds. It’s a perfect shawl for sudden breezes and air conditioning in summer.

Anthousai - LargeAnthousai and Flying without Wings are practically tied for fourth place. Flying without Wings was the pattern that started it all for me. I learnt a lot from this pattern – from designing my own lace to working out the maths for the short rows. I’ve learnt even more from the patterns that came after. Anthousai was possibly the most challenging pattern I’ve designed so far. So challenging in fact it was banished to time out for at least a month around Christmas time. There’s two sizes for this one. Although the full size shawl is my favourite, and I love it for dressing up and going out, the smaller version does get more wear as it doubles as a nice size scarf.

Orithyia - ZigzagOrithyia is coming along at the end. These are actually the shawls that have had the most wear from me this summer! They’re just the right size and they’re really easy to grab on the way out the door and very easy to wear. My favourite way to wear them is with the point down one shoulder and arm and the ends folded or knotted on the other side. I’ve also worn them as a wrap around my waist when it was too warm to wear over my shoulders and I didn’t want to carry them. I’m going to make a few more of these in different colours so I have one for every outfit! It’s also a really quick knit. I’m also contempating getting hold of some mini skeins and making one with a rainbow border.

Let me know what your favourite is!

July 26, 2013

For a change I’m knitting things I can show you, because I’m not knitting my own designs. I’m doing research just now. My next design (aiming for it to be ready in October/November) will be fingerless mitts/gloves, so I’m practicing by knitting other peoples patterns and getting a feel for what I like – that’s why there’s just one glove for each pattern, I might or might not knit the second one later!

I started off biased towards fingering weight gloves, New Eraand I’m still biased towards them I think. I have small hands and thicker yarn weights make my hands too bulky and make me feel clumsy. However, I started by knitting another New Era. If you’ve stuck with my blog over the last year and a bit you’ll know that I knit one of these before, then knit a second with the wrong needle and ended up with a glove I couldn’t squeeze my hand in to. I’m not sure where that pair has ended up, so I made a new one. I really love the stretch you get with the twisted rib, I’m hoping if my design is stretchy enough it can fit most women without me needing to grade it!

Chillworth Fingerless MittsSecond up was the Chilworth Mittens pattern. I really love the off centre cable on this one. Cables are just about my favourite design features for mitts and gloves – as I’m making these for winter, lace just won’t do! I also think I prefer the stockinette palm over the twisted rib one, but I may be influenced by the yarn weight too – more experimentation is needed! The purl stitches on either side of the cable also give this glove a lot more stretch than I was expecting.

Third is the Quilted Lattice Mitts. I really love the stitch pattern on these, Quilted Lattice Mittsbut I had my doubts from the start about the number of stitches I was being told to cast on with my fingering weight yarn and 2.25mm needles! As I expected the glove is pretty tight! However I didn’t check my gauge and I think the main difference is in the yarns – mine seems much thinner. While I could have started again and added in a couple of repeats to make the glove bigger, I decided just to continue as I was since my aim isn’t wearable gloves it’s to try out different patterns. I’m hoping that blocking might loosen them up enough too. One thing that makes this pattern interesting is the way the thumb gusset is handled – instead of always increasing at the outside of the gusset, this pattern always increases along the central stitch of the gusset. I haven’t got far enough yet to decide whether I prefer this or the other method but I feel this might make for a neater edge around the gusset.

There’s two more on my list to make. His and Her’s Gloves is the most important of these, since last winter I His Yarnmight have promised to make a pair for my husband! I’ve dug the yarn back out of my stash so I’m ready to start these soon. I’m going to be making them as fingerless gloves for him, with the fingered bits only going as far as the first knuckle.The other is Translated. I really love the twisted stitch cables on these – so much infact that I was inspired to buy three books of German twisted stitch patterns, that I’m really hoping will arrive in the post very soon. The other interesting thing about these is the textured palm and thumb. I’ll be using them to help me decide if I prefer a textured, ribbed or plain palm on my own gloves.

So I’m busy trying different things, working out what Translated YarnI like and don’t like, mixing it all up, and you’ll see what I come up with in a few months time! One thing I can tell you though, is that I’ll definately be including instructions for making them either fingerless mitts, or gloves as I think some people prefer each style. I also need to work on my technique for picking up stitches neatly for the top of the tumb gussets, and if I can persuade my husband to help me with the photos, I’ll have a photo tutorial soon for the best stretchy cast on I’ve found. I’ve been using it on all these gloves and I love it!

July 17, 2013

PhilotesThe KAL is nearly here! Philotes is now available for preorders on Ravelry only. If you buy the pattern before the 1st August you’ll get the front page, the photo tutorial for beading (just like the one I posted here a month or two ago) and you get 50% off the price! On the 1st August I’ll upload the pattern and you’ll get the update emailed to you and in your Ravelry account and the KAL will officially begin! Hop over to this thread and read more about the KAL – there’s a prize for one lucky winner!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhilotes is named for the Ancient Greek spirit of friendship and I think it would make a fantastic gift or you could make it from that extra special skien and treat yourself! It is knit sideways with optional beading, a zigzag lace border, tightly braided cable, and a soft and warm garter stitch body. The size of the shawl is easily adjustable depending on the amount of yarn you have.

Philotes Close UpWhen I decided that I wanted to host a KAL I wanted to come up with something a little different and looking at my other patterns, the most popular one by a long way is Storm Warning. So a sideways knit definately seemed like a good way to go. The best thing about a sideways shawl is you can use any amount and any weight of yarn – it’s really flexible. Other similarities include the beads and a cable separating the lace from the garter body.

I have to confess, I get horribly bored knitting scarves. Doing the same thing over and over doesn’t really work for me! The cables, lace, beads and increases/decreases all keep me interested in knitting and help me power on to the end. If you like scarves though, you can easily turn this pattern into one – just cast on a few extra stitches at the start so it’s as wide as you want your scarf, then knit skipping all the increases/decreases!

July 12, 2013

Not much has been happening this week I’m afraid! My mother-in-law is coming tonight so there’s been a lot of tidying and very little knitting this week. We did manage to get one knitting related thing done though.

WeFlying managed a photoshoot for three shawls on Tuesday evening. Evening isn’t really my favourite time for photo taking, mostly because of the golden hour. If you haven’t heard the term before, this is the period of time in the evening when the sun is getting low, and it casts a yellow glow across everything. Up here just now, the golden “hour” seems to start at six and go on till about 10 when the sun starts to go down!

As a result, I had to do a bit of fiddling with the photos to get the colours to come out properly and I think I managed quite well. The three shawls we shot were Flying without Wings (which you can see photos of in this post), Philotes (which will be the KAL, more details next week!) and Aoide (which you’ll see in August).

WingsI really like the location we used for these shots. It looks like it should be out somewhere really peaceful, but it’s actually on the banks of the River Dee and to my left in the photos where two dual carriage ways meet at one of the busy roundabouts in the city. It’s also a popular dog walking spot. The Flying without Wings photos are already up on Ravelry and will go up here in a couple of days. Check back in on Tuesday for more details on the KAL!

July 2, 2013

Orithyia - ZigZagMy latest pattern has just been published. It’s called Orithyia (pronounced or-ith-ee-a) after the Ancient Greek Goddess of cold mountain winds. I really love using Greek names, although it’s a little tricky sometimes to come up with pronounceable ones with the meaning I want. Orithyia is a bit of a departure from my normal style of shawl as there’s no lace at all, but I really love it.

The shawl is heart shaped, so it has a lovely point which works so well with the stripes but the top edge is a crescent and as a result it sits really well on your shoulders and around your neck. I like it and find it a lot easier to wear than the traditional flat topped triangle. You also get two edgings in one pattern, the fun zigzag, or the elegantly simple edging.

Orithyia - PlainOrithyia is fantastic car/TV knitting and is a really quick knit – I finished two of these in two weeks and right now I’m contemplating a third possibly in black and silver so I can wear it with anything in my wardrobe. I got two shawls out of the skeins I had by swapping the main and contrast colours over so it’s a great way to get the most out of your yarn too, or make one to use up left overs from other skiens like some of my testers did.

June 25, 2013

This year is racing by! It seems impossible that it’s the end of June already. I had flu last week, but I’m happy to report that this week I’m feeling much better – unfortunately my husband now has flu. I think the most effective way to cure flu is to give it to someone else – I caught mine from my dad, who started feeling better straight away!

Over the weekend I’ve managed to get ahead on my knitting. The shawl for the KAL is practically finished. I need to block it and get photos done this weekend, then I want to get it into testing asap. It’ll go up on Ravelry in a few weeks time for preorders. KAL participants will have a few weeks to preorder at a discount, then when the KAL starts the pattern will go back to full price – more details in a couple of weeks.

I also have another shawl with eight rows to finish tonight. I’m hoping to get it blocked along with the KAL one and do a double photoshoot so fingers crossed for good photography weather at the weekend! This one you won’t see until August or September so I won’t say too much about it now.

Orithyia will be out next week, probably on Tuesday. I’m really excited about this pattern. Testing has gone really smoothly and it’s pretty much ready to go! It’s a bit different from my other patterns because there’s no lace, but I hope you’ll love it anyway. It’s actually two patterns in one, and it’s a fantastic, relaxing knit.

I also started selling patterns on Patternfish this month. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a Canadian company, set up to purely sell patterns. The patterns are a mix of indie designers and bigger designers/yarn companies. Gayle, who runs the site, is lovely and great to work with. All of my current patterns are up there, apart from Flying Without Wings.

I want to give Flying Without Wings a new photoshoot so I should probably block it and do a triple photoshoot this weekend! I want to redo the charts now I have charting software and redo the layout so that it’s more inline with my newer patterns. It sounds like I’m going to have a very busy weekend!

June 18, 2013

I love to read. It’s pretty much my favourite thing to do and I’ve been obsessed with books from about the age of five. The spare room of our house has four bookcases in it, which isn’t enough for all my books and most of them are books I’ve had for well over a decade. A lot of my books are like old friends and every now and then I like to rediscover them.

I Kindle apphave to confess that I love reading so much, one of my first goals when I started knitting was to learn to read and knit at the same time. I can’t do it while knitting lace, but rest rows, stockinette and garter are all perfect for letting me read while I knit! I have to say too, as much as I love books, and I really do, my Kindle is my best friend when it comes to knitting and reading at the same time – I don’t have to worry about proping it up and not losing my page and turning the page couldn’t be easier!

My major love is fantasy books. They’re the best form of escapism I’ve ever found. But I also love murder mysteries – not the modern thrillers, but the Agatha Christie style or the ones set back in medieval times. Around this time of year though, I go looking for my old friends. I think it happens particularly around this time of year because when I was studying for exams I couldn’t read exciting new books – I’d never put them down! So I read the books I’d read for years – mostly books I’d been passed down from parents or grandparents, or sometimes picked up for pennies from a book stall.

One of my favourites is Anne of Green Gables. I’m not sure who I inherited this book from, but I love it, and it’s clearly been much loved by at least one person before me. I was completely delighted yesterday when I managed to find the entire collection of L. M. Montgomery’s books on Kindle, so that I know have the entire Anne collection, plus another of my favourites The Blue Castle, along with a whole host of new friends to get to know! I also got the whole Katy Did collection. Did you know there were five books, not just three? I certainly didn’t, so I have another two friends to meet!