Liz Corke Knit Design

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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!

June 12, 2013

I’m working on a new pattern just now and I’m really loving how it’s turning out. I’m using a lot of beads too and that reminded me about how I’ve been planning to post my beading tutorial for ages and never got round to it, so here it is!

You will need beads appropriate to the size of your yarn. I really like size 6/0 for fingering weight yarn. It sits nicely on the loop without rattling around. I really like Miyuki 6/0 Seed Beads. There’s loads of colours and they are very regular in size so they all look even in your knitting. You also need (for this method) a small crochet hook. a 0.75mm steel hook works perfectly for 6/0 beads. This tutorial talks about purling because I like putting my beads on purl rows, but it’ll work just as well if you knit first.

Start by purling to the stitch where you will place the bead. Put a bead on your crochet hook.

Start by purling to the stitch where you will place the bead. Put a bead on your crochet hook.

Using the crochet hook, lift up the stitch and lift it off the needle.

Using the crochet hook, lift up the stitch and lift it off the needle.

Slip the bead from the crochet hook over the stitch.

Slip the bead from the crochet hook over the stitch.

Place the stitch back on the right needle.

Place the stitch back on the right hand needle.

Tighten the stitch back up.

Tighten the stitch back up.

Continue knitting the pattern.

Continue knitting the pattern.

If you’ve never tried beading before, give it a go. It’s a great way to glam up a simple pattern!

June 5, 2013

I hear those four words from my husband everytime I get a package in the post! Now that Orithyia is finished, I have another shawl on the needles. I’m really loving this one and I’m especially excited about it because I’ll be releasing it and having a KAL for the pattern. Interested? Head over to this thread on Ravelry and let me know what you think!

RightOMA Treacle Toffee now I’ll tell you that I’m using Old Maiden Aunt (OMA) merino/silk in Treacle Toffee and it’s a gorgeous warm brown. I’m completely smitten – this is my favourite shade of brown. I’m also pretty excited about the beads. Don’t they match gorgeously?

I’ve used OMA merino/silk before for Storm Warning, and I have another shawl on the needles using it too (more on that in a few weeks time). Beading projects aren’t great for travelling so I need a second for short trips! It has a pretty high silk content so knitting with it feels like a really luxury. It also stands up really well to wear. I have to confess though, one of my favourite things about buying yarn from Lilith is the mini pack of love hearts in the parcel!

June 3, 2013

I think I mentioned last week that my husband had finished uni and started his new job last week. Actually looking back, I didn’t mention his job, but he has one and he’s now a Junior Developer/Front Line Support (I think) at a software development company, and he’s very happy with it. As a result we now have a car again and at some point I should learn to drive! This opens up a whole world of possibilities for photo shoots!

UntilDuthie Park now, all of my photos have been done in Duthie Park, here in Aberdeen. While it’s a great park, and really close and convenient, it does have a few problems most notably the number of people who also think it’s a great park and who stare at what we’re doing as they walk past. I’m not particularly fond of having my photo taken and having an audience doesn’t help!

Now we have a car, a whole world of photo locations has opened up. I personally think the North East of Scotland has some of the best scenery out there – although since I was both born and brought up here, I might be a tiny bit biased! Some of my favourites are local to where I grew up, such as Drumtochty Forest. Others are places I visited a lot growing up such as a couple of beaches, pebbly at Stonehaven or sandy with cliffs at St Cyrus, or the many castles in the area – Crathes and Drum with gorgeous formal gardens and surrounded by woods, or Edzell Castle which is half fallen down.

Cairn O'MountYesterday we took our first trip out to a new location for a photo shoot. We went up the Cairn O’Mount where there are gorgeous views across the valley and smaller hills all the way to the sea. I grew up at the foot of these hills, and a lot of family holidays to the highlands started going over the pass. We had a gorgeous day for photos too – sunny, but with some cloud so things weren’t too bright, warm, and not too windy. I was able to edit the photos last night and send my pattern off for editing, so it should be ready at the end of the month after testing!

May 29, 2013

IMuch Yarn! bought a lot of yarn a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a photo of it all! I have eight shawls in various stages right now. One is finished, two are on the needles, three more are swatched and charted, one more is half swatched and waiting for some tweaks to the border, and the last one is in the final stages of design. If only I could knit faster I’d have loads to show you! All of the yarn in the photo is for these shawls – three of them are two colour shawls although I’m now not using two of the skeins. The shawl that’s finished and one of the ones on the needles are a two for one pattern and I should have just enough for both by swapping the main colour and contrast colour over for the second shawl.

Today Fyberspates RCI’m just going to tell you about the yarn for the finished and half finished shawl. It’s absolutely gorgeous! The yarn is fyberspates Rural Charm. It’s a 70% bluefaced Leicester, 20% silk and 10% cashmere. I’ve used it once before on the large version of Anthousai, and I really love working with it. The silk gives it a gorgeous sheen and it’s really soft and light to work with – just what you want in a shawl!

The Fyberspates RCcolours I’ve chosen are The Blues and Pebble. I think it’s probably obvious which is which! The various shades of blue aren’t quite so obvious in the finished shawl, but I still think it looks fantastic. Pebble is a gorgeous colour, mostly light grey with subtle hints of darker grey, blue and brown. Absolutely fantastic! Blue is my favourite colour, but I haven’t really used it in any designs up until now. Now though I have four blue shawls coming out! I’ll space them out with other colours so it doesn’t get too monochromatic for you.