Liz Corke Knit Design

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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!

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 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 27, 2013

I’m afraid I’ve neglected my blog appallingly over the last couple of weeks! I promise to make it up to you this week though, and I’m going to give you a quick run down of what’s been happening now.

First off I’ve been buying loads of yarn. I have gorgeous photos for you, but I forgot to upload them on my blog before work. I’ll be blogging about them later this week though. They’re all gorgeous and I’m so excited to work with them!

Last week we took a short holiday in Edinburgh. My husband had his last exam on Monday and in the evening we headed down to the capital. We had a great time, although we were pretty busy!  On Tuesday we went to Blair Drummond Safari Park over at Stirling which was a lot of fun. We were really lucky that the sun was out and all the animals came out to sunbathe! We also went to Ikea, and although we didn’t get what we went in for (a spice rack) I did find the perfect knitting lamp (this one: Not) for £11 and plenty of other stuff came home too! On Wednesday we went to Dynamic Earth which was a lot of fun and well worth a visit if you’re in the city.

Thursday we headed home, then on Friday we headed down to my parents to see my aunt and uncle who were visiting for a couple of nights, and on Saturday we helped out at the village gala which was also fun and was a gorgeous sunny day – just what was needed! Sunday turned out to be our only full day at home. Today is my husband’s first day at work, so hopefully everything will go smoothly for him. He’s excited and nervous about it but I think he’s more excited.

I’ve been getting plenty of knitting done too, and I have a finished shawl ready to unpin from my knitting mats as soon as I get home from work. I have another 7 shawls planned and I really excited about them. One in particular is a sequel to Storm Warning and potentially a KAL project. Check out my group for more info on that!

April 25, 2013

Do you ever feel Shawls like there’s too much going on for you to settle down to just one thing? I definately have that feeling this week! I’ve had ideas for five different shawls, which is driving me a little mad, as well as a tentative idea for a sixth. I’m also trying to get on with all my pre-release jobs for Shattered Stars which will be out next week. I’m finding it pretty hard to settle down and just work on one thing!

I want to try and get my ideas all firmly on paper and have a swatch done for each. Once I’ve done that I can focus on working on one shawl at a time, and know that my ideas aren’t going to vanish off somewhere and I’ll never come up with the same thing again. Four of these shawls are going to be part of an e-book along, maybe, with the tentative sixth. I really like the idea and the theme that sparked it, but just now I only have part of most of the shawls worked out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Shawl № One I’m pretty happy with and I’ve almost finished the swatch so I’m happy with that. № Two I know what I’m going to use for the border and the main body but I haven’t worked out how they’re going to fit together or any stitch counts. № Three I know the border, but I haven’t figured out a body pattern to go with it, or even what shape it’s going to be, although I have a couple of ideas. № Four is just a spark of my imagination so far. I haven’t found anything in my stitch books that does quite what I want, so I may have to chart something from scratch. The tentative Sixth is even less solid than № Four so it may not come into being at all. The fifth shawl has the opposite problem to the others – I have too many idea for each part of it! I’m probably going to have to swatch a lot for this one and see what pairs up nicely.

I also want to say thanks to Caroline and Stitched Together for their indy dyer suggestions last week. The Yarn Yard and Countess Ablaze were already on my list although I’d never bought from them, but the other two were new to me! I’ve added the Laughing Yaffle and Babylonglegs Ravelry groups to my yarn tab so I don’t forget them. Thank you!

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