Friday, July 15, 2016

Up for a crafting challenge?

Like any popular website with a big social element, Ravelry has its own traditions and special events. One of my favourites is the Ravellenic Games, held every two years to coincide with the winter or summer Olympics.

Ravellenics participants choose one or more projects that will be a personal challenge, and try to finish before the closing ceremony. The next Games are coming up in a few weeks beginning on the 5th of August, so if this sounds like fun you still have time to pick your projects. Joining a team is optional, but definitely adds to the fun in my opinion!

Last time around I crocheted a great big rainbow blanket:


I'm still super proud of it, and it's fantastic to have a real wool lap blanket in the lounge when it gets cold.

This time, I'm going to go big again and knit a Blank Canvas sweater. It's DK-weight, with 3/4 sleeves, and using a pattern I've knit before, so it shouldn't be impossible to finish in two-and-a-bit weeks (I hope). But it will still be a stretch for me, since I usually take ages to finish a garment. My plan is to halt all design-related knitting during the Games and concentrate on making myself a new comfy jersey. :)

Swatching ahead of time is encouraged (by analogy to 'training' for an event), so I've begun my quest to get my gauge correct. This is my first swatch in Madelinetosh Longrider DK, which I need to undo and knit again on smaller needles:


Wish me luck!

Monday, July 4, 2016

WARMing up

Have you heard about the WARM project? It's a community textile art project to reflect on climate change and sustainability, which will take the form of two giant pictures made up of small knitted parts, to be installed in the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery this September. You can read about the inspiration for the project here.

My contribution is a batch of knitted gum leaves. I've made six small ones so far, which I'll put in the post today. If I have time, I'd like to make another batch of leaves.



I found some fallen leaves and flowers under the gum trees at our train station today, very conveniently for my photos!

If you'd like to knit something to contribute to WARM, you can find the all of the patterns (devised by Georgie Nicholson) here on Ravelry - you can make different kinds of native flowers, or wind turbines, or simple lace squares for example. All items need to be made from 100% wool yarn, and using stash yarn is encouraged. Contributions are due by the 12th of August.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

New pattern: Multifaceted Mitts

Presenting Multifaceted Mitts, the fingerless mitts version of my Multifaceted Mittens! Personally, I love mitts. Having my fingers free is so much more practical, plus I get to show off my nail polish... ;)



Features:
  • all-over stranded colourwork pattern inspired by crystals
  • twisted ribbing at the cuffs and mitt-tops
  • short-cuff and long-cuff options (mitts shown with long cuffs)
  • full-mitten version also available (separately or both in an ebook)
  • requires less than 50g of fingering-weight yarn in each colour
  • one size, to fit 7-8" palm circumference
  • pattern includes colourwork charts

Like the mittens, the mitts are knit in Knitsch Sock yarn from Holland Road Yarn Co. This time I chose 'Sweet Pea' for the main colour, a really strong vibrant pink, and 'Silver Lining' again for the contrast colour (because of its shimmering-metal illusion).

The mitts have a few extra little details, like the two-colour ribbing at the top of the thumb. This allows for a decent amount of ribbing while also continuing the colourwork pattern. It's slightly awkward to switch between knit and purl stitches while also switching colours, but it's only for a small area (and the effect is really worth it).



For details, and to download the Multifaceted Mitts pattern, visit its pattern page on Ravelry, Loveknitting, Etsy, or Craftsy. An ebook with both patterns (at a reduced price per pattern) is also available on Ravelry.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

New pattern: Multifaceted Mittens

This one's for my fellow southern-hemisphere-dwellers, where the weather is settling in to proper wintery rain and cold right now. My latest knit design is Multifaceted Mittens, a pair of colourwork mittens with an all-over pattern of crystals, and optional shorter or longer cuffs.

The matching mitts pattern is coming soon, so if you prefer your mittens fingerless I'll have you covered shortly!



I became kind of obsessed with designing a crystalline colourwork pattern after watching some cartoons which had beautiful crystal shapes in their background artwork - here are some examples from Adventure Time and Steven Universe. I like my cartoons weird, and I like them pretty.

Both pics from Steven Universe, found here.

Hmmm, those columns would make an excellent cable pattern...


Features:
  • all-over stranded colourwork pattern inspired by crystals
  • thumb and mitten-top echo the shape of crystal points
  • short-cuff and long-cuff options (mittens shown with short cuffs) 
  • requires less than 50g of fingering-weight yarn in each colour 
  • one size, to fit 7-8" palm circumference
  • colourwork charts 

The crystal pattern lends itself to playing with jewel colours, and the yarn I chose, Knitsch Sock dyed by Tash of Holland Road Yarn Co, comes in a wealth of rich, vibrant colours. I used 'Amethyst' and 'Silver Lining', two semi-solid shades with a lot of light/dark contrast. Solid, semi-solid, and variegated yarns will all work in this pattern, but do make sure you have enough contrast between your main colour and contrast colour - for example you could pair a darker variegated MC with a pale solid CC. One of my test-knitters switched MC and CC around for her second mitten, which looks really cool. :)

Knitsch Sock is a good choice for these mittens because its springiness helps you knit at a tight gauge without discomfort, and it's nice and hard-wearing (which I like for anything I'm going to wear on my hands).



You can see all the details and download the Multifaceted Mittens pattern from Ravelry, Loveknitting, Etsy, or Craftsy. The mitts pattern is in the pipeline - look out for it (and the ebook containing both patterns) next week.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Finished project: Royally Striped

You guys, I actually finished a garment! This only happens once or twice a year, I am sloooow when it comes to garment knitting - mostly because I have so many other things I want to knit, and if they're my own designs I prioritise them. Which is totally great! But I think I need to get back to doing purely ME-knitting on the weekends, because I'd love a couple more jerseys and cardies in my wardrobe.

This is my Royally Striped cardie, designed by Stephen West and knit in a combo of Morris and Sons Norway 8ply (the natural charcoal and brown colours) and Vintage Purls Max (the burgundy and golds). The golds are actually the leftovers from my Beeswax Set, now put to good use. :)




Isn't this mural neat? It's across the train tracks from our place, on the side of some storage units. I like the little people climbing around in the eucalyptus branches.

Royally Striped is an all-in-one-piece design, where you knit one section and then pick up stitches for the next section. It's quite magical, the way it grows and grows. I really like the i-cord bind off around all of the edges, it finishes it off really tidily. I did add a big wooden button, but I prefer the way it looks unbuttoned.

The striped short-row wedges were fun to knit - don't they look cool?


Here's a closer look at the back, with its block of colourful narrow stripes:


I do love the cuddliness of garter stitch!



Next up will be another one of these. Not as exciting (especially as I've knit one before), but it will be a great basic super-wearable jersey. And my yarn is speckled, so scratch that - it IS exciting!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New pattern: Amarilli

I have something especially pretty to share with you today! This floaty, lacy shawl is Amarilli, part of the Wool People 10 collection and my second design published in collaboration with Brooklyn Tweed.


You can see the whole collection in the beautiful Lookbook. As well as a few more lace scarves and shawls, there are some very cosy-looking cabled jerseys (I especially love Marylebone).

Below are a couple of backyard photos of Amarilli, which we took late last year before sending it off to Brooklyn Tweed. I've been keeping this one a secret for quite a while!




Amarilli is knit in Brooklyn Tweed's new laceweight yarn, Plains. It's a laceweight with a lot of character and springiness, which gives a slightly rustic feel to the shawl. I used the colour 'Ranier', a calm blue-grey-with-a-hint-of-green that reminds me of lichen.

My starting point for this design was a 'bell lace' pattern from one of Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries. I charted it out, tweaked it to fit a triangular shape, and added a border in keeping with the lace pattern. The design difficulty was in making the edges and border of the shape work with the stitch pattern - it took me a while to find a tidy and elegant solution!

Features:
  • all-over floral lace pattern which becomes nicely intuitive
  • knit and purl stitches only on wrong-side rows
  • top-down triangular construction with garter-tab cast on
  • requires 2 skeins of Plains by Brooklyn Tweed (or 750yds of laceweight yarn)
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid colourways
  • one size: 60" wingspan, 30" along spine
  • both charted and written instructions.


    I named this shawl Amarilli because the lace motifs look like flowering bulbs - think amaryllis, lily, or crocus - but I also had a famous early Baroque song in mind, 'Amarilli, mia bella' by Giulio Caccini (published in Le Nuove Musiche, 1602). It's a very common song for young sopranos to learn - if you know someone who has had formal singing lessons, chances are they know it!

    You can hear the song here:


    And here is a different take on it, a much more decorated version published by Johann Nauwach in 1623:


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    You can purchase the pattern for the Amarilli shawl from Ravelry, or from the Brooklyn Tweed website.

    Thursday, March 31, 2016

    Northwards

    I can't believe I'm off to Europe tomorrow! It's my first trip to the northern hemisphere, and my first long-haul flight (eeep). We've been planning and preparing like mad this week, looking up all the things we want to see and making a Google map of them all. You can get a glimpse of it here:


    I've been stockpiling podcast episodes on my phone for the various plane and train rides. Some are yarn-related (Woolful, A Playful Day, Pomcast, and Truly Myrtle) and others are language-related, as I'm hoping to pick up a wee bit of German, Italian, and Dutch if I can.

    I'm also trying to finish a pair of woolly slippers to wear on the plane. They're Simple Garter Stitch Slippers in two very bright colours of sock yarn held together. The first one fits well, but I still have most of a slipper to go...

    Fair warning - I plan to blog about my trip, so if you'd prefer to wait for more knitting posts, I suggest you pop back some time in May. I do have plans to visit a certain yarn shop in Amsterdam however, so it won't all be pictures of architecture and stuff. ;)

    See you on the other side!