Liz Corke Knit Design

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March 1, 2013

Anthousai - LargeI’ve been looking forward to this post for weeks! Some of you may already have seen it, but I released the pattern for Anthousai on Wednesday evening. It’s here on my website, on Ravelry and on Craftsy. If you missed in on Wednesday I did a “making of” post here.

I really love how this shawl has turned out. The idea did go through some minor rough spots but the end result is pretty much exactly what I dreamed of. I made the large version first and I have to say it feels pretty luxurious! Most of the design tweaks happened while I was working on this one – at one point I had to rip back at least 200 yards of knitting and redo the lead up to the border. The large version used just under 760 yards of yarn, which was a lot of knitting! It was definitely worth it though! I used Fyberspates Rural Charm for the large version. I really love this green!

Anthousai - SmallFor the small version I wanted another colour that would represent leaves, but I didn’t want another green. After a bit of looking around I found Eden Cottage Titus 4ply, in this gorgeous Autumn colourway. It was completely perfect for what I wanted. I have plans to get a few more photos done of the small version of the shawl – when we took the originals I think it was starting to get dark and a lot of the photos came out blurry. When I was working on this shawl, I did a lot of weighing my yarn to make sure I had enough to finish. I did bind off with about 2g of yarn left over. I really love how it turned out though and I think the size is perfect.

Anthousai - ShapeI love the shape of the shawls. The wings are nice and long which means you can wrap them round and it stays put pretty well. The large size is  170 cm long by 63.5 cm deep (67” long by 25” deep) while the small size is 126 cm long by 46 cm deep (49.5” long by 18” deep) and I really love this photo. I think it shows the different sizes pretty well! There’s loads more photos on my Ravelry page, and my website, but Craftsy only allows five photos, so check them out if you want!

Check out Tami’s and see what everyone else has been up to!

January 25, 2013

I finished my shawl on Wednesday night and got it mostly blocked last night. The lace border ruffles which makes it a little tricky to block, so I block the shawl, and then block the ruffles afterwards. It makes sense when you see the shawl, I promise. Provided the weather is ok at the weekend, I’ll get the photos done, and hopefully have it ready for testing next week.  Keep an eye on my Ravelry Group if you’re interested in helping me test it.

The weather could be a little tricky at the weekend – the snow just doesn’t want to stop. It’s quite strange here. I work in the city centre and the snow just doesn’t stick around for very long. The pavements and streets are well gritted and the snow disappears quickly. Just a couple of miles out of town though, we still have three or four inches of snow that’s been hanging around for ages, freezing and turning to ice, then getting snowed on top of again. Anyway, as long as it’s not too sunny and therefore blinding, or snowing too heavily, I should be able to get the photos done.

Check out Tami’s and see what everyone else has been up to!

January 18, 2013

My new website is finally live! I hope you all like it.  The design is mine, but my wonderful husband (with quite a bit of nagging!) did all the coding and clever stuff for me. The website and blog is on WordPress now, as we couldn’t get blogger to work nicely with our custom theme, but I really like how it’s all worked out. I am afraid you’ll need to update your rss feeds and readers though. The new RSS feed is here. The website is my FO for today, so please have a good look around and let me know what you think!

I’m really excited about this year. I have loads of ideas for new designs. The green shawl I was working on last year is done, and I’m about halfway through a smaller version of the shawl. The pattern is mostly written , and the charts are almost finished too. Hopefully I’ll get it in testing in February.

I have another shawl on the needles. This one is a bit different from my others as it has very little lace. It’s a sideways shawl, and is going to be a gift for a friend. After I’m finished that I have another few ideas charted and I’ll get to pick something new to work on!

One of the most exciting things happening this year, is that my husband will be graduating from uni. I’m really excited about it and I can’t wait for May. He’s been at uni for five years now, so this will be a huge change for us!

Check out Tami’s and see what everyone else has been up to!

Comments are fixed now!

October 5, 2012

I almost forgot to post today, and I have something for you at last! First though, my ChiaoGoo circular needle arrived yesterday, and I really love it so far! I’ll have a proper review for you next week.

At the craft shop a couple of weeks ago, I found a gorgeous colourful pack of fat quarters – and remembered to get matching thread for a change and more bobbins for my sewing machine, so I’m pretty well equipped for a change! The result is another project bag. I love making these. They’re so quick and easy to make and so useful too! This time I combined a plain pink fabric with stripy green and I could have a proper “feature panel” this time. I really love the contrast of the pink pocket on the green stripes in the middle of the pink.

This time I sewed it up along the bottom so that the panel is in the center rather than the side like my last one. I also couldn’t find my elastic, so the pockets are just have flaps until it turns up somewhere. I did something clever this time though – when it came to sewing up the top of the bag, I used the green thread in the needle of thesewing machine, and the pink on the bobbin underneath, so on either side the thread matches the colour of the fabric! I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, although of course it didn’t work on the panels and I couldn’t be bothered swapping threads all the time.

I had some help showing off my bag this week, as you can see. Holly decided she wanted to come and say hello again, and help to “model” it. I may have to keep her and make another monster, because I’m getting pretty fond of her. This week, I need to make more of an effort to get on with the rest of the monsters, or they’ll never be ready in time for Christmas.

Check out Tami’s and see what everyone else has been up to!

September 21, 2012

It’s a gorgeous sunny Friday, although still definitely chilly – maybe I should get going with that cowl design? The mornings are getting darker and so are the evenings, and soon the clocks will go back and I’ll lose all the light after work, then the light before work – all of which makes me very glad I have my light box now! I have another little confession to make. My blog (and eventual website) are now being hosted on www.lizcorke.com. I haven’t been very successful so far in working my name and Kingfisher Knits together, so I figure it’s easiest at this pont to just swap everything over to just use my name and keep things simple. Also my husband has had www.tomcorke.com (there’s nothing actually there) for years so now we have a matching set!

Moving on, Holly is finished! I only have six more monsters to go. I really love how she’s come out, although she doesn’t stand up very well – she has four pins in her bum to hold her up for the photos! I’m not sure who is getting this one yet, apart from the purple one going to my friend whose favourite colour is purple, I think I’ll just wait till they’re all done and see who I think should get each. Since there are two groups of three – my three friends, and my two sisters in law plus my brother in law’s girl friend, they’ll each get one of the three. My brother’s girlfriend will get which ever of the three I have the most fun making!

I love how Holly has turned out. Sewing the arms on and the bottom of the body up was easy, but getting the feet on was a bit tricky. I stitched the feet closed and sewed them to the body at the same time and to stop her falling over backwards I used one stitch to secure the tummy to the front of the feet. You can just about see it in the photo. I love the little tummy button, although I think I put mine about half a stitch off center – but that’s ok, it shows character! I think when I stuff the rest I’ll get some little stuffing beans to add weight to the bottom and hopefully help them to sit a bit better. They were designed as Christmas tree ornaments, so I don’t think their ability to sit up was a priority!

Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!

September 14, 2012

I feel like I haven’t done an Fo Friday post for ages! Time keeps slipping by and I can’t keep up. Thank you for all the good wishes after my wisdom tooth came out. I’m feeling much better today and I’m back to work, although I had yesterday off because I still felt really sick and miserable.

And what did I do with my time off? Yesterday my ball winder arrived! The swift arrived a couple of weeks ago, which is pretty quick considering they were coming from America and Amazon said 15th – 25th of Spetember for delivery. Although my birthday is next week, I opened them both early, and got to work on my first couple of skiens. I got them both done in about 45 minutes, which was pretty good considering one of the skiens was yarn that I’d frogged and washed, and that had got pretty tangled in the process. I am completely in love! Eight hours worth of winding yarn done in 45 minutes, just think how much (knitting) time I saved.

And today I can finally unveil Young Einstein with ends sewn in and buttons on. I really love this little cardiga. I used Rowan Handknit Cotton, which is sold in the UK as DK, but is really much closer to a worsted weight. It’s really soft and it shouldn’t have any problems in the wash. I really like the shade of green too, although it’s been pretty hard to get right in photos! The colour in this photo is pretty acurate. In the photo below, the colour is way off, but I wanted you to be able to see the detail in the buttons and apparently I couldn’t have both at the same time.

And speaking of the buttons, aren’t they cute? I have a bit of a thing for buttons but these are particularly cute! I also like that they don’t all point directly up, although that was the way they were sewn on. I think it might be the seed stitch bumps that change how they sit, but I really like the result. I have to confess that the buttos aren’t equally spaced, because I apparently forgot how to count rows, so some are 10 rows apart, and I think one might only be eight apart. The last button is the right distance – 12 rows!

Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!

August 31, 2012

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!

August 24, 2012

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!

August 10, 2012

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!

August 3, 2012

Today is gorgeously sunny and the international market is in town. They set up shop in the street in front of my office, which means I can go there at lunch time, get food and have a good browse. They’ve never had yarn yet, although someone does sell knitted baby clothes, but I’m still hopeful that one day yarn will appear!

I have photos of Momijigari to show you today. I really love how it’s turned out although it’s the most awkward thing I’ve ever tried to block! I think the problems came from the two directions of garter stitch – the body wanted to stretch a long way sideways and the border wanted to stretch a long way down, but stretching in the other direction for each was really awkward and I had to keep undoing and redoing it to get it all sitting nicely. I’m really tempted to get blocking wires if they’ll make life easier!

The yarn I used for this is superwash 4 ply merino from Old Maiden Aunt in the bramble colourway and really soft. Purple is my friend’s favourite colour and this will be her birthday present, so I wanted to use yarn that wouldn’t be hurt if it went through the washing machine. Her birthday isn’t until November so I’m going to fold it up nicely and keep it safe until the next time I see her after that. Hopefully she’ll like it, if not I may have to keep it! It’s pretty skinny so it’s a good size to be worn as a scarf as well as a shawl so she’ll have options and she does wear scarves alot.

The pattern is really good and clear, just like Henslowe and I really enjoyed working on it. The yarn over loops make picking up stitches really easy and the only time I really had problems was with the blocking. I did use a bit less yarn than I exxpected, but that’s pretty normal from me. Instead of 400 – 410 yards I used 360, but it still blocked out to reach my whole arm span. I seem to be a pretty tight knitter because I always use less than the pattern calls for, or maybe the patterns are just very generous on their yarn required. I have two more birthday shawls to make, one for September and the other for November so I’ll get started on the September one very soon. The other are going to be sideways shawls with the border knitted on at the same time, so they’ll be really easy and hopefully fly off the needles!

Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!

I’ve also just realised this is my 200th post!