Barmouth

I’ve got a new design to tell you about today, Barmouth, in the latest issue of Let’s Knit Magazine (Issue 79, May 2014):

Barmouth Headband

Barmouth Headband
Copyright Let’s Knit 2014
Used with kind permission

The inspiration for this design is very personal to me.  As a child I spend many happy summer holidays on the beach at the Welsh seaside town of Barmouth with my parents, brother and grandparents. When Sarah from Let’s knit sent me a ball of Rowan Silkystones with a request to design a headband for one of their spring/summer issues, I wasn’t really sure what I would do exactly before I saw the yarn…. Rowan SilkystonesBut once I’d taken it out of the envelope I knew straight away that it would be connected to this place:

Barmouth (about 1995-96 ish)

Barmouth (about 1995-96 ish)

The colours took me back there straight away.  The grass on the headland, the ripples of the sand on the beach, the hours my brother and I spent making sandcastles, and with the help of my Mum and my late Grandpa, digging elaborate moats around them that went right down to the sea, so that they’d fill up with seawater.

Boats in Barmouth harbour (1995 - 1996 ish)

Boats in Barmouth harbour (1995 – 1996 ish)

As it was Wales, the weather could be extremely variable.  As you can see, this was not one of the very best days, but not too bad (it’s not raining!), or too hot (one year – maybe 1995 – it was scorching, we had a plague of ladybirds – yes really – and it was so hot we couldn’t go down to the beach until 5pm).

Barmouth Bridge (1995-1996) - the bridge is for the Cambrian Coast Railway line

Barmouth Bridge (1995-1996) – the bridge is for the Cambrian Coast Railway line

These photos were taken by me on one of those holidays during a walk on the headland with my family.  Though I can’t remember when exactly, I’m fairly sure that it was around 1995 – 96, so I would have been about 9 or 10 years old.  Please excuse the quality, this was the days of film cameras after all, with 24 or 36 exposures…. eeh, kids today, they don’t know they’re born!

It’s the time on the beach that I remember most of all (including having such a good time that I had to be persuaded for around an hour that it was time to leave).  My memories of that are all tied in with memories of my wonderful Grandpa, who encouraged me to be adventurous, swim further out (but never too far) and was always eager to join in our silly games, even if it meant being buried in the sand!  Anyway, back to the design, before I wallow in mid-nineties nostalgia any more…..

Barmouth headband

Barmouth headband
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014

Welsh beaches are very windy, so a headband would be the perfect accessory to a walk along the shoreline or a day at the beach!  With this in mind and thoughts of the ripples in the sand, I began to work out some cable and lace ripple patterns that would go together well but still make a sturdy enough fabric to keep your hair in check.

Barmouth Headband

Barmouth Headband
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014

Starting with an i-cord tie, you increase into rib, which flows into the rippling cable and lace patterns, then back into rib, ready to decrease for the i-cord tie at the other end.

You can easily adjust the size of the headband by working fewer cable and lace pattern repeats before decreasing, if you wanted to make a child’s headband for example. Rowan Silkystones (a mix of silk and linen with a really beautiful sheen and soft handle) is a lovely yarn to work with, but if you wanted something easier to care for Rowan Handknit Cotton knits to the same tension and would make a great substitute if you wanted to make a headband for a child, and there are lots of bright colours to choose from too.

Because I’m feeling brave, here’s a photo of me, in Barmouth, wearing a headband, aged about 9 or 10 (I was always very small for my age):

Me in Barmouth, about 9 or 10 years old

Me in Barmouth, about 9 or 10 years old

My Grandpa was long gone by the time I learnt to knit, so he never saw any of my designs, but Grandpa, this one is for you.

Lottie x

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Autumn Bloom Mitts

Yesterday, I did a little photoshoot (that sounds very grand doesn’t it?  It’s not, I just went out with my Dad and a camera and tried to get a few pictures taken in between persuading passers by that we weren’t completely mad).

I can’t show you most of the pictures just yet, but I did take my Autumn Bloom mitts (by the very talented Rachel Atkinson) with me and we managed a decent picture of them at the end just before my Dad’s notoriously short attention span wore thin (he doesn’t really understand designing or why I do it, so there are only so many photos you can get him to take before he gets bored and a bit Victor Meldrew-ish).

Despite this I am grateful for him giving me a hand, because unless I clone myself I can’t model my knits and take photos of them at the same time (I suppose I could use a tripod and self timer, but then I’d get some even funnier looks!) and he can take good pictures as long as you give him very specific instructions!

Autumn Bloom Mitts by Rachel Atkinson

Autumn Bloom Mitts by Rachel Atkinson
Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’m so pleased with these!  They were really fun to knit, I’ve already worn them loads and I used up some Mirasol Qina that had been lurking in my stash for ages.  I’m pretty pleased with the picture too actually – thanks Dad!

The mitts are Ravelled (is that a word?) here.

What have you been making?

Lottie x

I’m so excited!

…. and I just can’t hide it!  *sings and dances badly*

It’s been a bit of a mad week!  I’ve had a really tight deadline to meet on something top secret…….. all I can show you is this:

No peeking!

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

But it’s done now!  Yay!  And yesterday I had some very exciting news when I checked Ravelry!

Two of my new designs have been added to the database ready for their release 😀

First, Swirl, a shawl with an unusual construction, in Let’s Knit Magazine Issue 69, August 2013 (out today!):

Swirl Shawl

Copyright Let’s Knit 2013, used with kind permission

This was so fun to make I’ve already made another to keep for myself – it’s just the right mix of interesting and uncomplicated.

Secondly, something I have been keeping quiet for quite a while – one of my designs in going to be featured in a Debbie Bliss book!

My Reversible Mobius Cowl (<—click there to see a much more professional photo) is going to be featured in the upcoming book ‘Creative Cables: 25 Innovative Designs in Debbie Bliss Rialto Yarns’, which is due out in July in America and I think September in the UK (but don’t hold me to that)!

Reversible Cable Mobius

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’ll tell you more about both these designs in more detail soon, but I think they each deserve a post of their own!

In my fit of excitement last night, having just finished my top secret project and seen my two new designs up on Ravelry (and done my happy dance!) I decided to join Twitter…. eek!  Not really sure if this is a good idea or not, but I’ve done it now, so if you want to follow me or see what I’m up to I’m @Lottieknits :).

Please come and say hello!

Lottie x

Going nowhere fast

……. at least when it comes to my socks……….

Sock-in-progress

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

Why?  Well I’ve been finishing off knitting something else.  Something secret which I will be able to show you soon-ish, but not just yet.

Socks in progress

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

So my socks have been neglected.  Poor neglected socks 😦  Luckily for the them I only have to cast off my top secret project, then I can start on them again.  Then again……..

Matching gloves?

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

…………… I could knit some mittens to match my Wagtail hat!

Oh dear.  Can you tell I’m a bit bored of my socks?   Help!  Encouragement required!

Lottie x

Beetroot Feet!

I’ve started my socks!

What?  Really?

Bet you didn’t think I would!  Well, you’d better believe it……..

A half-knitted sock

Proof!
Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’ve even turned the heel and (whisper it) I’m quite enjoying it… but shhh…. don’t tell anyone! 

I’ve chosen Beat Feet by Rachel Atkinson from Knit Now Issue 20 as they looked interesting enough, but not too taxing, so I could concentrate on the construction of the sock and getting a good fit, rather than worrying about complex stitch patterns.  It’s a nice pattern which has been well thought out so that you can knit mirrored socks and the cable pattern is nice and stretchy, so it should be comfortable to wear.

Beetroot Feet detail

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

There is one teensy little hitch though….. (no, not the fact that I will now want to knit all the socks)….. a week ago, gripped by the urge to get started, I grabbed this skein of dark purple yarn from my stash, where it has been hiding for some time.

I didn’t really think about just how dark the colour was, or the nature of dark hand dyed yarn (i.e. it will tend to have some loose dye).  So I didn’t consider before winding it into a ball and getting started that it would lose quite a bit of colour.  It was only after I had wound it (by hand – couldn’t be bothered to get the swift and ball winder out) that my fingers had a slight puce tinge about them.

I put it to the back of my mind and just started knitting.  I mean, I was concentrating on knitting magic loop (I don’t really like knitting small circumferences in the round), which I’d only done once before years ago (when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing) so I didn’t really stop to think about the loose dye.

The next time I looked my fingers were a colour that would suggest I had been preparing beetroot.  It does wash off eventually!  But if I’d realised earlier I would have washed the yarn before I started (note to self: next time don’t get so over-excited about a new project that you fail to notice anything else).  I will definitely rewind the yarn into a small skein and wash it before I start the next sock!

Wish me luck for the rest of the sock!

Lottie x

Glacier Hat

Once again it’s been mad – one day I will have some time to blog consistenly/rest/socialise/knit something I get to keep/do Christmas shopping in something other than a blind panic (ie yesterday afternoon)!  However the considerable upside of all this is that I’ve got a couple of exciting things that I will be able to tell you about next year.  Yay!  But not yet.

Until then, I’ve got a newly published design in Knit Now Issue 16 to tell you about 🙂

If you know me, then you also probably know that I have a weakness for hats.  I also am a bit of a magpie, especialy where beads are concerned, so what better way to combine the two than in a beaded hat?

I had a skein of pale icy blue Manos Silk Blend (shade #7338 Aquarius – not usually my sort of colour, but perfect for this design) in my stash, which I bought with the idea of swatching it with pale sparkly beads, keeping to the icy theme, and an idea for an unusual way of encorporating beads into one of my favourite stitch patterns.

So after a bit of swacthing and a sketch, I sent it off to the lovely Kate at Knit Now, and it got accepted – yay!

Design sketch of Glacier Hat

My sketch!
Image Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

So here it is – and what else would I call it but Glacier?

Beaded Hat using drop stithc pattern

Glacier Hat from Knit Now Issue 16
Photograph Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing (used with kind permission)

Beads are knitted into alternate panels of the drop stitch pattern replacing the ladders that you usually get (knitting them into every panel would have made that hat a bit too heavy), and in between the drop stitches, there are tiny mock cables which continue from the welt into the main pattern……

Stitch details (little cables and beads

Stitch pattern detail – I love these little mock cables – so satisfying to knit!
Image Copyright Charlotte Walford 2012

…..and the pattern comes together satisfyingly at the crown.

Back detail of Glacier Hat

Back detail – I love the convergence of the pattern!
Photograph Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing (used with kind permission)

If you fancy giving Glacier a go, remember to choose a yarn with a high wool content.  Manos Silk Blend may have silk in it, but it is 70% wool – really important for this pattern, as you need the hat to keep its shape under the weight of the beads (the hat is also seamed to help keep it from stretching, and all this means that it keeps its shape perfectly).  Talking of beads, I got mine from Debbie Abrahams Beads, (size 6 clear beads) I chose clear silver lined beads, but there are lots of other colours to choose from.  I’m really tempted to make another version in brighter colours – maybe with more than one colour of beads….hmmm………no one minds if they don’t get a Christmas card or gift do they?!

If you want to get your hands on this pattern, and lots of other lovely patterns, Knit Now Issue 16 is in the shops now, and you can also find it here at Stash!

Merry Christmas!

Lottie x

P.S. Yes, I am also on page 3 of Knit Now – my answer to the designer question got picked 🙂 yay! (and no it isn’t that sort of page 3 – thank goodness)! 

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