Finish line: Part 2 – Runa

Runa is finished!

I’m really pleased with how it turned out……….

Runa Hat

…….. I love the soft halo of the Artesano Alpaca DK yarn………

Runa Hat

….. and it’s lovely and warm thanks to the combination of alpaca yarn and the stranded colourwork that creates a thicker fabric.

Runa Hat

(But I still don’t like having my photo taken!)

You can find my project on Ravelry here.

So what next?  I’ve finished three WIPs since I started my WIP Amnesty (four WIPs left to finish), so I think it’s time to start a new project (although I have been working a little bit on a jumper I’ve had a on the needles for about a year) but what should I knit next?  Any ideas?  I need to use up some of my stash……..

Lottie x

All photos copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

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WIP Amnesty: Part 3 – Runa

Next on my WIP list is this, Runa:

Runa (fairisle hat) in progress

Runa in progress
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Runa is one of my designs for Artesano and  you may have seen it in one another guise as one of the patterns in the Artesano Nordic Collection 2011 and also in Let’s Knit Magazine (Issue 51) about a year ago.

Runa Fairisle Hat

Runa
(Copyright Artesano 2011 used with kind permission)

I started this one back in January last year, and it really should be finished by now, but various design commissions have had to take priority, and usually once I have finished those I either have more ideas to explore and swatch, or I want to cast on something new that I have never knitted before or something mindless which I will inevitably get bored of (i.e. acres of stocking stitch) because my brain is crying ‘Enough!  No more thinking, please!’.   So although fairisle isn’t that hard, I end up putting it off.

I could have taken Runa on holiday with me to finish, but as this version needs 4 balls of yarn, it just wasn’t practical, as I only have the crown left to do and I would have packed all the yarn I could fit in my case and then finished it and had NO KNITTING, which is obviously unthinkable.

Runa Superwash Merino Swatch

My original Runa Swatch in Artesano Superwash Merino DK
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2011)

Anyway, back to the project itself.  The reason I wanted to make another Runa is that originally submitted two colour schemes for this design. One in Artesano Superwash Merino DK, and one in Artesano Alpaca DK.  In the end the Nordic Collection was worked in Superwash Merino DK (in two colours), but I still wanted to make a version in alpaca as I love some of the heathered shades that are available, especially in colourwork.

Runa Swatch in Artesano DK

My swatch for the alternative Runa colourway in Artesano DK
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2011)

Runa was inspired by Viking carvings and heart shapes traditionally found in Scandinavian knitwear, so I wanted to reflect this in the two different colour schemes.

The idea with this colour scheme was to show a different side to the design.  To me, when you stripe the background in more girly colours the swirls look like little hearts, compared to the original two colour version which has a more graphic abstract look.  I like the way that with just a few changes like this colourwork patterns can take on a very different appearance.

Runa hat in progress (wrong side)

Even the wrong side has to be neat – I’m a perfectionist!
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

So as you can see, it’s not as if I have fallen out of love with Runa, we just needed some time apart.  But I want to get this finished (before summer – such as it is in Britain – arrives)!

Next time……… a finished hat!!  🙂

Lottie x

Honeycomb Cowl

Hello everyone!

It’s been a little while hasn’t it?  I’ve been away on holiday, hence the lack of posts, and while I’ve been away some of things I’ve been working on over the summer have been published – very exciting!  I’ve had a few things published now, but I still love seeing my designs in print with beautiful professional photos.  More of the other patterns soon, but today I have a pattern in Knit Now (Issue 13 Gifted Knits Supplement) to tell you about.

Honeycomb Cowl

Honeycomb Cowl from Knit Now Issue 13 Gifted Knits Supplement
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

The Honeycomb Cowl started life as a reversible cable stitch that I had been playing about with.  I really love reversible stitches, so ever since I’d discovered this while playing around with cable stitches I ‘d been wanting to design something with it.  The design brief this time was simply something that you could knit as a Christmas gift.  So it needed to be quick to knit without being too simple and boring to make (sometimes the reason I end up with UFOs), and not use too much yarn.  The reversible honeycomb stitch that I’d been playing around with seemed perfect!  I could use it to make a cowl with none of those ‘what happens when it drapes and you see the wrong side?’ problems.

Honeycomb Cowl Swatch

Swatch of reversible honeycomb cable stitch
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

Then I thought about other things that might make the cowl a bit more wearable.  What if I made it flare out over the shoulders like this?

Honeycomb Cowl Sketch

Honeycomb Cowl Sketch
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

So I decided on a cowl in reversible honeycomb cable stitch, with built in shaping about halfway up narrowing the cowl towards the neck, knitted in the round.  Easy, but not so easy that you get fed up before you’ve finished.  I chose Artesano Aran for the design as I wanted a yarn that was sturdy enough to keep out the wind on a cold day, but soft enought to wear against your neck.  It also has great stitch definition (really important for cables), and I found it worked really well on larger needles than those recommended on the label (I used 6mm needles to give the fabric a bit more drape).

It knitted up really quickly, and best of all there are no seams!  Just a couple of ends to sew in and I was done.  My cowl took about one and a half skeins of Artesano Aran, so if you are making them as gifts you could get two cowls from three skeins (other yarns will vary, so check the total yardage is the same if you are using yarn from your stash)!

I really hope you like it – if you want to get your hands on the pattern for my Honeycomb Cowl (and lots of other lovely patterns) Knit Now Issue 13 is in the shops now, or pop over to their website if you want to buy one directly.  I’d love to see your versions if you make one!

Lottie x

Mae: from sketchbook to pattern book

Mae Shawl

Mae Shawl
(Image used with kind permission of Artesano)
Copyright Artesano 2012

When I was new knitter, I often wondered about how the design process worked.

Did you just have an idea and then start knitting it?

Did you draw the whole thing out on graph paper first and then knit it?

Did you work it all out mathematically and then write the pattern perfectly first time?

In truth it is a little bit of all of them (although you never write a pattern perfectly just from the maths!), it varies depending on the idea and the challenges it presents you with.  Sometimes an idea that is great in your head looks dreadful when you try to knit a swatch, or is just too unwieldy for anyone to actually enjoy knitting it (and we all knit for fun, so you don’t want it to be purgatory), and sometimes an idea just evolves as you go, with subtle changes that end up being the things you like most about the design appearing as you knit that swatch.

So, as my Mae shawl and shawlette that I designed for Artesano for their Vintage Handknits booklet is republished in Knit Now this month (Issue 11) I though I would take you behind the scenes and show you the design process behind it.

As you might have guessed, the design brief for this booklet was ‘vintage’.  I wanted to do a crescent shawl, but from the top down, to allow for adaptation in terms of size.  This idea had been developing in my head for a little while and seemed just the right sort of thing for a lovely drapey yarn (especially when worked on larger needles – Mae is knitted on a 5mm) like Artesano DK or Artesano 4ply (both yarns are featured in the booklet), so I went ahead and knitted a swatch.

Mae swatch

Mae swatch
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

As is often the case there wasn’t much time and in this instance I wasn’t sure which yarn I would be given if my design was selected, and I didn’t have any Artesano DK or 4ply in my stash, so as the observant amongst you might have noticed I used Manos del Uruguay Serena, as the most important thing at this stage was establishing whether or not the idea would work.

And it did!  So now I had mini version of the shawl and a definite idea of how I could construct it (a short row crescent from the top down so you could adjust the size, with expanding feather and fan pattern at the edge, finishing with a picot cast off) I could sketch!

Mae sketch

Mae sketch
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

I usually find it better to sketch after swatching, because then I have a better idea of the scale of stitch patterns and can make my sketch a more accurate representation of the final design – there is no point doing a beautiful sketch only to find out on swatching that the idea doesn’t work!

Then I sent it all off to Artesano and waited……

And they liked it!

So then it was on to working out the fine details while waiting for the yarn to arrive (Artesano DK in #1492 Belize (pink) and #1291 Argentina (blue)), charting out the short rows to check my calculations, and carefully placing increases to shape the shawl – I used a lot of graph paper!

Last but not least, actually knitting it (a good opportunity to check the instructions thoroughly)!  As Artesano wanted two samples, I thought it would be nice to do two variations in the pattern to suit different tastes and occasions – one big dramatic shawl (in pink) that you could really wrap yourself up in for a glamorous evening cover up, and one smaller shawlette (in blue) to wear as a scarf or around your shoulders over a summery dress.  I always like variations in a pattern so that you can really make it your own!

So the pattern and samples were sent off and I waited for the photos and the finished pattern booklet with bated breath.

When I saw them I was delighted.  I think this is my favourite photography and styling for any of my designs so far!

Mae Shawlette

The finished design!
(Image used with kind permission of Artesano)
Copyright Artesano 2012

I love the different styling of the two variations – more casual for the shawlette and a definite glamorous look for the shawl.

Now I just need to get around to making my own – I’ve got the yarn (Artesano DK #7609 Paraguay), but I’ve not got much further than that!

I’d love to see your versions if you make one,

Lottie x