Progress so far…….part 2!

So what else did I make from my pile of yarn from Andyfest?  Well, so far only one other item, but hopefully I will get some more done this year.

I’d been thinking that I should really make an Ishbel for a while, as it is such a pretty shawlette and I love shawlettes (in case you have been living under the knitting equivalent of a rock for the past few years, Ishbel is a shawl pattern by Ysolda Teague which has acheived cult status, and at the time of writing nearly 12,000 projects on Ravelry!).

One of the *ahem* three skeins of Fyberspates Faery Wings I got at Andyfest was a gorgeous cherry red colour, which I bought with my Mum in mind.  It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to make anything for her, so I thought it was time to sort that out.  Quite a few people have made Ishbel in Faery Wings, so it seemed like a safe bet (Faery Wings is a bit shorter than most 100g skeins of 4ply yarn, so I wanted to be sure I would have enough).

I started my Ishbel on holiday back in September after I’d finished Rosaleen and had hoped to be able to finish in time for Christmas, but with other things to do between then and now it was not to be, however I finally finished at the weekend!

Ishbel

Ishbel
(Photo copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Isn’t the colour of the yarn beautiful?  I confess that if this was for anyone other than my Mum, I would have had great difficulty in giving it away!

Ishbel edging

Ishbel edging – just look at the pretty points!
(Photo copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Faery wings has a beautiful drape (thanks to the high silk content) which is great for shawls, it blocks nicely (good for lace) and has a halo of mohair that just makes the fabric divine.  I even have a little bit left, which I might be able to use if I combine it with something else.

I made the smaller size, which is a nice size to wear as a scarf, and not so big that you get fed up before it is finished.

I enjoyed the pattern (I especially love the points at the end of the border) and even though it was a long time in between casting on and casting off, it didn’t really take that long to finish in terms of time spent actually knitting it instead of just thinking about knitting it!

If you’ve not made a top down shawl before, this would be a good place to start, as like most of Ysolda’s patterns, this pattern includes both charted and written directions for the lace (perfect for chart lovers and chart phobics alike).

Just two more skeins of Faery Wings to go!

Lottie x

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Progress so far….

It’s been a little while since I went to Andyfest and came back with all that yarn *ahem*.

Unfortunately for the yarn/fortunately for designing I’ve not had much time for non-work knitting since then, so I’ve not made much, but actually having finished something(s) by now is quite good by my usual standards!

First, I made this lovely shawlette while I was on holiday all the way back in September.  The pattern is Rosaleen by Rachel Coopey with a skein of Easyknits Cloud in the ‘Petrolhead’ shade (I’m a bit of a motorsport fan, so it seemed quite appropriate):

Rosaleen Shawlette

Rosaleen Shawlette
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

I love the edging on this, the bottom edging reminds me of flowers and features beautiful twisted stitches (I love twisted stitches).

Rosaleen edging

Rosaleen edging

The top edging is a twisted stitch rib that ties in with the bottom edge nicely.  Did I mention how much I love these twisted stitches?

Although I finished the knitting on holiday, it is a little bit difficult to block shawls in a hotel room, and I didn’t fancy trying to take pins on a plane just for that, so it did languish unblocked for a while before I got round to that bit, hence the lack of photos until now.

It’s a great pattern and it made a good holiday knit, being in DK weight yarn it was fairly quick to do.

The yarn is gorgeous and works well with the twisted stitches and the lace, although I was cutting it a bit fine with the yardage, as the recommended yarn is quite a bit longer per skein.  I had several moments of doubt about whether I would have enough, and spent a lot of time nearer the end of the shawlette working out how I could shorten the edging if necessary, as well as nervously measuring out the remaining yarn.  So if you’re planning on making this in the same yarn I would get an extra skein, especially as I knit fairly tightly, so I tend to use a bit less yarn.

Happily though I had just about enough to finish it as per the pattern, with a tiny ball of yarn the size of a cherry tomato left over!

Come back tomorrow for the second finished item!

Happy New Year!

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

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

Moon River

Hello, and welcome to my brand new blog!

I start my first post in a rather over excited mood, having just released my first self published pattern:

Moon River

Moon River Shawlette

Moon River, a little crescent-shaped shawlette knitted in Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn shade #264

I’ve had patterns published before through my work with the lovely people at Artesano yarns (do pop over to their website if you can and sign up for their newsletter, which includes free patterns), but this is the first time that I’ve taken the plunge and done the whole process from idea, to knitted sample, to pattern and layout, and finally to publishing, by myself, although I did have some help from my friend and colleague Les, who very kindly test knitted and pattern checked for me, making this gorgeous version of Moon River in the process:

Moon River Shawlette

Les’ version of Moon River in Silk Garden Sock shade #301

Thank you Les!

Moon River is a little crescent-shaped shawlette with a simple crochet edging that should be manageable for even those new to crochet.  It is worked from the bottom up, then shaped with short rows and decreases into a gentle crescent shape.  I’ve also incorporated shaping into the tips like this:

Shaped tips of the shawlette

Shaping at the tips of the shawlette

The whole shawlette is then edged with a simple scalloped crochet edging.  Et viola!  One pretty little shawlette that shows off the beautiful colours in just 2 skeins of Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn.

Moon River is available to buy on Ravelry or here:

I hope you like it – I would love to see your own versions!

Thanks for taking the time to pop over and have a look, I hope that you might become a regular visitor.

Lottie x