Going dotty!

Hello everyone!

Long time no see!  (Figuratively of course,  I can’t really see you.  Except you there in the pyjamas, go and get dressed!)

Once again I should apologise for my lack of posting, it’s been one of those years where life gets in the way of blogging.  As is traditional, I’ve once again missed my Blogiversary last month (as I have every year so far I think!) oops!

Anyway enough of this aimless chatter, I guess you want to know what I’ve been knitting?  Well, quite few things I can’t show you yet, but all will be revealed in due course.  At the moment though, I’m having a bit of rest from knitting new designs and taking the opportunity to have a go at a pattern that has been intriguing me for a little while.

Dotted Rays

The pattern in question is Dotted Rays by Stephen West.  I’ve chosen to use a self striping yarn, Louisa Harding Amitola, in shade #120/Winter Rose, but although there is a self striping version of this pattern (written for worsted weight yarn) I’m using the original version as it is much closer to the thickness of yarn I’m using.  (Louisa Harding Amitola is sold as a DK weight yarn, but it really knits up much more likes 4ply).  I’m using 4mm needles to give the fabric a nice airy feel while still keeping it soft and bouncy.

It’s a really interesting construction, with increases and short rows creating a crescent shape.  I’m really enjoying the relaxing simplicity of the garter stitch combined with the rhythm of the increases and short rows.  It’s just simple enough to do while watching TV, yet interesting enough to occupy my mind.

Dotted Rays

The other thing I’m enjoying about this project is the yarn!  I wanted to use self striping yarn to highlight the unique construction of this shawl (which should be easier for you to see when I’ve knitted a bit more of it).  I love the colours in this particular shade, Winter Rose.  It shades from black to dark green to light grass green, then back to dark green and black and on to deep pink and repeats in this sequence throughout.  I love that the colour sequence is mirrored like this, unlike Noro yarns for example, which have a more linear progression.  It’s a great motivator too!  I can’t wait to knit another short row wedge and get to the next colour!

Which pattern have you found addictive?

Happy Knitting! 😀

Lottie x

Boo! Ocean Breeze!

The parade of projects from my blog hiatus continues!

This time it’s a rather pretty shawl:

Posh Ocean Breeze

This is my version of Ocean Breeze by Boo Knits, knitted in some rather indulgent Posh Yarn Robynn Sock (100% silk) and Posh Yarn Tabitha Sock (silk and mohair) in a beautiful deep pink shade called ‘May Day Is Lei Day In Hawaii’, with size 5/0 Miyuki triangle beads in Cranberry/Crystal from Crystals and Ice (their service is really good, I can’t praise them highly enough).

Posh Ocean Breeze

If you’re not familiar with Posh Yarn, it’s divine, hand dyed yarn, available in one off, non-repeatable colours (hence the unusual names).  Buying Posh Yarn does require a bit of dedication and possibly ninja skills or fighter pilot standard reactions!  Their shop is updated every Sunday evening at 7pm (details of the upcoming updates can be found on their website as well as their fun and friendly Ravelry group) and with all the yarn being dyed in beautiful one off shades (and no more than 10 skeins of each one available) it sells out within minutes.  I was lucky enough to snag this yarn in a destash, it was one of just a few sets of matching yarn dyed especially for the Boo Knits Midsummer Ocean Breeze KAL.

Posh Ocean Breeze in progress

This in progress photo shows the colour a little better (it’s really difficult to capture it accurately, it’s a bit pinker and less red than most of these photos, but perhaps not quite as pink as the picture above).

Posh Ocean Breeze

This is the second knit-a-long I’ve done this year, and while I did enjoy it, I think I enjoyed the Ysolda Follow Your Arrow KAL more.  The pattern parts were released every few days as well, so not much time between clues, which meant I had absolutely no chance of keeping up!  (Though I did start a week late, as I had something else to finish first for a deadline.)  Also most parts of the pattern were fairly similar to the last part, so while it was a mystery, none of it was that surprising (not that that is necessarily a bad thing, the pattern flows nicely and isn’t disjointed like some patterns which were designed for knit-a-longs).

Posh Ocean Breeze

I think that while I like the crescent shape of the shawl, I’m not keen on the bump at the top of the shawl (which you can see at the top of this photo), despite my best efforts to block it out.  I think it would be better to work a longer garter stitch tab and pick up more stitches from the sides of it to eliminate the bump.  Alternatively, I think it would be less noticeable if the main body of the shawl was worked in garter stitch, as the rows aren’t as tall.  If I made another one, I would definitely fiddle about with the pattern to improve this as it really does get on my nerves!  (I’m fussy I know!)

But on the whole I’m pleased with it.  The lace is very pretty and delicate, it’s a lovely big shawl and drapes beautifully (helped by the beads and the silk based yarns), but I’m not sure I’d make another.  It’s perhaps a little big for my petite 5’3″ frame (thought I could fix that by using smaller needles) and I would prefer a slightly denser fabric (most of the shawl is knitted on 4mm and 4.5mm needles, which I think makes the fabric a little loose and not as neat as it could be, especially under the weight of almost 800 beads).  I do like some of the other Boo Knits designs though, so I’m not ruling out trying another design, but I’d definitely alter the start to eliminate this annoying bump.

Next time, I’ll show you the project that kept me busy before this!  I’m pretty excited about it 🙂

Lottie x

Finally… Hadlow Cowl!

So, here it comes, the first of those exciting new things I’ve been telling you about…..

…. drumroll please…. may I present my new pattern, the Hadlow Cowl!

Hadlow Cowl

Photo copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

….. and my new Ravelry group:

Lottieknits Ravelry group

Oh yes, it’s all kicking off today!

To launch my new pattern (hopefully the first of many) and Ravelry group, I’ll be holding a KAL for this speedy cowl in the group.

To help you join in, you can get the pattern free until midnight BST (British Summer Time) Saturday 11th October 2014 by adding the pattern to your cart and entering the code HadlowKAL at the checkout. 

A very straightforward pattern, this cowl is designed as a stashbuster and the pattern includes instructions for a wide range of yarn weights, from light DK/sport weight right up to chunky (as shown in the cowl above, knitted in the very snuggly Debbie Bliss Paloma).  I made this cowl in an evening, so it’s perfect for quick festive gifts, for those of you who prefer to make them.

The cowl is worked in the round using a clever technique called helical stripes, which eliminates the annoying ‘jogs’ you get at the beginning of each round.  Not tried helical stripes before?  No problem!  The pattern walks you through it, and if you need more help, you can join the KAL and I’ll help you out.

Hadlow Cowl

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

There are two versions, a short version, shown above (designed to use two 50g skeins of the same or similar yarns in contrasting colours), and a long version (which you can wrap twice round your neck), shown below (designed to use two 100g skeins), so you can dig out those pretty skeins in your stash that called to you in the shop but you’ve not yet found a pattern for, as well as those odd leftover balls that you just had to keep.  If you’re anything like me, you probably tend to buy the same colours most of the time, so you might find that some of those leftovers go perfectly together!

It even works well in self striping yarns (this one is knitted in Noro Kogarashi):

Hadlow Cowl

Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013

I’m so glad this pattern has finally been released, it’s been along time coming!  I made the cowls last year, when wondering what to do with some of the odd skeins of pretty yarn in my stash, managed to get it tested before Christmas, and was then completely overwhelmed by deadlines for magazine designs, so it went on the back burner.  Then the weather was warming up, so I thought I’d better wait until autumn!  Never mind, having found a lovely tech editor, the pattern is finally ready, so I got there in the end.


Lottie x


Foxy Loxy!

The parade of projects I’ve made while absent from my blog continues!  I’d planned to post this last week, but working on exciting new things has rather got in the way….. but more about the first of those things tomorrow (I know, making you all wait, I’m such a tease).

A few months ago, Knit Now magazine dropped through my letterbox, with a fun little surprise…. a knitting kit!

Now, I’m not usually one for making stuff that comes free with magazines, because usually (wild generalisation alert) the yarn is not especially nice and I don’t particularly want to knit or wear anything made of acrylic when I have a stash of much nicer yarn, just waiting to be knitted up and more ideas than I have time to make (there’s no pleasing some people).

But this kit was different.

For a start the yarn was wool blend and actually quite nice!  and then there was the pattern (Finlay Fox by Barbara Prime), which was more cute than I could handle.  Also, I had some spare safety eyes and toy stuffing in my stash from making a pair of PG Tips/ITV digital monkeys way back when.  I’d just finished a big knitting project too (more about that next week) and wanted to make something quick and slightly silly so it was just meant to be!

First there was a body (knitted flat, with an intarsia patch for his pale tummy):

Finlay the fox kit

Then a bushy foxy tail, some cute pointy ears and little arms……


I decided to sew each piece up as I went along, because although I don’t hate sewing up, or fear it at all, there’s always quite a bit of making up involved in toy patterns, so it doesn’t seem quite such a slog or a test of endurance if you space it out a little.

……. And before I knew it, he was done!

Finished Fred!

I’m particularly pleased with his expression.  Normally I spend ages sewing facial features on to toys, only for them to look weird, so I have to start again.  This process is repeated until either a) I’m happy with it, or b) I’m so sick of the sight of it that I don’t care any more.  I think it’s only been the latter once before, but I do tend to persevere, even if I’m pretty fed up with it, because I’m a perfectionist.  On this occasion I got it right first time!  Yay!

Then, inevitably, I had to name him.  Or, to be more precise, somebody did.  The task fell to my brother (the prospective owner), who decided on Fred, because alliteration is the best strategy for naming such things!

I even took Fred to work, so everyone could have a good gawp at him.  Here he is enjoying some lovely colourful yarn!

Fred at Stash

Isn’t he cute?  You can see Fred on Ravelry here.

Tomorrow, exciting new things…. all together now…. wooooooo!

Lottie x

Meet Sidney!

Yesterday I said that the BAAAA sheep shawl would bring me rather neatly on to the next project that I have to share with you.

So, here it/he is, lounging nonchalantly next to some of my stash…….

Sidney the sheep!

Meet Sidney! (Photo Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014)

Meet Sidney the Suffolk Sheep (alliteration is always important when it comes to naming things)!  He’s knitted in Rowan’s lovely Purelife British Sheep Breeds DK (now sadly discontinued I think) in shades #780/Ecru Blue Faced Leicester and #781/Brown Blue Faced Leicester, so he really is all sheep!

Sidney had been on my needles for quite some time (Since April 2011 to be precise – pre-blog!) so he really deserved to stop being a WIP (work in progress) and become a finished sheep.

I’d finished Sidney’s body and head before he went into hibernation, which are cunningly made in one piece thanks to Janice Anderson’s clever pattern, but I hadn’t knitted his legs or ears.  Poor legless Sidney.


So, to avoid the tedium of having to do all the fiddly sewing up and stuffing at the end, I decided to sew up and stuff the body and head before knitting the legs, hoping that this would motivate me to finish him.  It worked!  Once I’d made something that looked more sheep-like I really wanted to get him finished.  I made the ears and sewed them on.  This did make him look a little like a rabbit, but I was informed by my brother (the intended recipient – there is a bit of a family in-joke that results in occasionally exchanging sheep related items – yes we are completely sane) that this merely gave him character and that I was therefore forbidden to change them.

Awaiting an expression!

Soon, the legs were done and sewn up.  This was a bit of a fiddle, as you have to sew them using mattress stitch and then turn them inside out (easier said than done on such a narrow piece of knitting) so the seams are on the outside of the leg.  You then have to turn up a sort section at the end of the leg to form cute little hooves.  The upside of this is that the legs are not stuffed, so less faffing there.  Also I think it adds even more character!


Next, it was on to his facial features, so I tried to give him a mischievous expression to match those impish ears.  Feeling that he needed a little something extra, I decided to knit a jaunty little red neckerchief out of some leftover yarn, making it up as I went along.

Every sheep about town needs a neckerchief!

Every sheep about town needs a neckerchief!

His ears never did lie flat….

Lottie x

5KCBWDAY5 – Is a change really as good as a rest?

Hmm… I think that’s up for debate!

Certainly blogging every day brings plenty of change (in terms of blogging differently to usual), but not very much rest (don’t ask how many hours Marvin’s low quality photo comic took me – I doubt that there will be any future installments).

Am I getting blogging fatigue?  Actually, no.  Although it’s been a lot of work, just like last year I am enjoying Knitting and Crochet Blog Week and it’s been great to discover some fab new blogs.

It’s also lovely to have so many new readers and commenters and I’ve really enjoyed reading your thoughts, so thanks for popping round to my little corner of the internet!

So, today’s challenge is to blog in a completely different way to normal.

So far I’m just yakking, so I’m failing miserably.  Oops.

Well, I had a think and you know what you don’t see much of on the internet?  Knitting memes (I know there are some, but knitting is ace, so we need more).

Now, hear me out. 

I’m not really into this sort of thing, but basically a meme (as I understand it) is one of those pictures with a funny phrase, pun or statement written on it in big bold (usually capital) letters.  Commonly they might include a picture of a grumpy looking cat or, like this one; an Alpaca.  They crop up on various social networks, so you’ve probably seen one.

So I thought I’d have a go at making my own!  I dug out an amusing sheep picture which I took at Killerton House (a National Trust property) a few years ago (the sheep were roaming freely over the footpaths  – as well as sleeping on them – and were totally nonplussed by my prescence) and voila!

Please don't ask me to move... I'm hiding the yarn I've just bought.

Not just a knitting meme, but a yarn stashing meme! Feel free to share it (together we can win the interwebs!) 🙂

Back again tomorrow!

Lottie x

5KCBWDAY4 – Getting to the point

Hi, I’m one of Lottie’s many, many pairs of knitting needles!

Addi Needles

Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014

I’m an Addi Premium circular needle, a svelte 3.25 mm and 80 cm long.  As I mentioned, I am not alone by any means.  Lottie loves her Addi Premiums and hardly ever knits with anything else, in fact she will sooner buy another pair of needles than use any other type!  As a result I have a twin and numerous siblings in various sizes.

I’m very sleek which is perfect for Lottie as she has a tendency to knit tightly and my smooth surface keeps her stitches moving quickly, helping her to knit faster.  Speed is important in my line of work, especially when there are deadlines to be met.  Back in December and January I helped her to knit her Siskin shawl, my proudest achievement as a needle!

She usually rewards me for my help with nice yarns, for example at the moment I’m helping her to make a wrap in a lovely laceweight Bluefaced Leicester and Silk mix…. mmmmm…….

I enjoy socialising.  In this picture you can see I’m hanging out with some cute pink stitch markers.  We get along really well and work together to prevent frogging and tinking.  It’s a close working relationship. 

Lottie: I love my needles, I think we’ve only ever fallen out when you’ve been too clingy and tried to hang on to me when I’ve got up to do something else.  You lost your rag and dropped a load of stitches – or maybe it was one of your siblings?

You can’t blame me for that – that was one of those troublesome 4mm needles.  I swear they’ve learnt to clone themselves.  They stick together, so you’ll never find out which of them it was. 

Lottie: Sorry, my mistake.  I guess the only other problem we have is that sometimes I need to use another needle size and you feel neglected for a while, but it could be worse, you could be those big 24 mm heavy wooden needles.  They’re still holding my extreme knitting.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish that – it’s a bit too physical for me!

*Shudder*  Don’t you ever leave me in the U.F.O. zone! 

Back tomorrow with something a bit different from normal 😉

I’ve really enjoyed reading all your posts this week so far, I hope you’ve enjoyed mine too.  Thanks for reading 🙂

Lottie x

5KCBWDAY3 – Marvin v spammers!

So today’s blogging challenge is all to do with creative photography.  Eek!

Well I tried faffing about with some yarns that made me think of the coast and beaches etc:

Seaside yarns Seaside yarns

But that seemed a bit dull.

Then I remembered something irritating that keeps happening whenever I tag a post with the word ‘blogging’.  I get some likes, follows and spammy comments from people who clearly don’t care about knitting, with preachy ‘How all the blogging you’ve ever done is wrong – and I can tell you how to do it right with my boring generic tips!’ type sites.  Urgh.

I’m not bothered about getting lots of blog traffic if it’s from spammers.  I want to read other knitting and crochet blogs and for the lovely people who write them to perhaps read my blog if they enjoy it.

One of these ‘blogging guru’ type sites even ended every post title with the word ‘REALLY???’ all in capitals, just like that, with three question marks.  Who are these people?  How do they expect me to respect their opinions on blogging if they can’t even think of decent titles?  Maybe it’s just me.  I can’t pretend to understand the technicalities behind blogging, or know what the SEO is or how to get more organic traffic, but I just want to write posts that you’ll enjoy reading.

So here’s Marvin’s take on it all with a very poor attempt at a photo comic (enjoy it spammers!):

Marvin Comic

Marvin Comic

Back tomorrow with another post!

Looking forward to reading yours too 🙂

Lottie x



I’ve got another new design to tell you about today.  Honestly, you spend three months working on new designs, and then they all come out at once!

Anyway, onwards!

My latest design to be released is Denman, a shawl with an unusual construction in Artesano’s gorgeous new Linen Silk DK yarn.

Denman Shawl

Denman Shawl
(Photo copyright Artesano Ltd 2014, used with kind permission)

I wanted to design a shawl that was a little different from the others I’ve designed in the past, something more like a wrap which would stay on your shoulders easily and not slip off, with a stitch pattern that would show off variegated colourways but still be a bit different from the usual suspects (feather and fan, chevrons etc).

Denman stitch pattern detail

Denman stitch pattern detail
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014)

I’ve been fascinated by Estonian style increases (where between three and nine – or sometimes more – stitches are made from just one stitch) for some time now, ever since I designed Cleome using them.

I’d been experimenting with other ways of using them in my own original stitch patterns, so after some quite substantial swatching and a lot of frogging, I came up with a stitch resembling falling petals.  I realised that I could use the same increases to work a circular shape.  What would happen if this became the central section of a wrap…. with two sides radiating from it at an angle, like this?  That would help it to stay securely on your shoulders!

Denman Shawl Sketch

Denman Shawl Sketch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Of course, in order to test out this theory I had to knit one of the largest swatches I’ve ever knitted!  It probably would have been even larger, but I ran out of yarn (this was the yarn I had left over from Tatyana – about 70g or so of Manos Silk Blend if I recall correctly).  You will have to excuse the fact that it looks like a massive boiled sweet wrapper!  Because of the way the pattern works, the circular section of this swatch had to be as big as that section in the real life shawl, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to test out the pattern on each side of the shawl at the same time.

Denman Shawl swatch

Denman Shawl swatch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Despite this idea being a bit mad and off the wall, Jenny at Artesano was able to see past the big sweet wrapper swatch to the sketch and commissioned my design!  I was pretty chuffed, as I love working with Artesano and I also love doing more unusual designs – working it out is fun, but the sense of achievement when you realise that your mad idea actually works is even better ;).

I was pretty excited when the yarn arrived.  You never know which colour you are going to get for your design until it arrives, but I was absolutely delighted with the beautiful colour that I ended up with, #EX52/Paradise, a beautiful mix of blue, turquoise, pink and purple.  It was perfect, both for the shawl and for me, as those are my favourite colours!

Denman close-up

Denman close-up (Photo copyright Artesano Ltd 2014, used with kind permission)

The yarn (a DK weight mix of 40% Wool, 35% Silk and 25% Linen) was beautiful to knit with and I loved the way the linen added depth to the colours.  Also the skeins were incredibly evenly matched even though they were hand dyed, which is very impressive (although I still decided to work the yarn in stripes from two skeins at a time in order to guard against pooling – I don’t think it would have been a particular problem, but when you’re working a large item to a deadline the last thing you want to have to do is frog your work, so I didn’t want to take any chances).

After a few weeks work it was done!  The wrap is quite large (though it looks even longer on me – I’m only 5’3″) which allows it to be worn with the circular section either at the front or the back, but it would be easy to make it a little shorter if you prefer.  If I remember correctly one skein will knit 5-6 pattern repeats.  I have to admit it was very cosy and I was rather reluctant to let it go!  I might have to avail myself of some more of this yarn.  Here I am looking tired after many late nights knitting, but chuffed (standing by the back fence trying not to look cold):


(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2014)

You can see more pictures of the finished wrap than I could possibly include here on my Ravelry project page.

I’m delighted with the beautiful pictures Artesano have taken of this for the pattern photography.  The colours are very true to life and almost glow, just as they do in the flesh.  Thanks Jenny and the team!

Lottie x


I’ve got another design to tell you about today, but first I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who followed, commented, liked or tweeted about my last-post-but-one, Barmouth.  I was really overwhelmed by your heartwarming responses and I never expected such a big reaction, thank you!

Now I suppose I should tell you about that design, Siskin:


Siskin, photographed at Gorton Monastery
(Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing 2014, used with kind permission)

Siskin is published in the latest issue of Knit Now Magazine (out today!) as part of a collection inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement (you can see the rest of the collection and the mood board that inspired it on Pinterest here).

My original inspiration for Siskin was the work of William Morris.  I really love the use of flora and fauna in his patterns, such as the famous ‘Strawberry Thief’ print and I wanted to create my own original colour work pattern, using some of the key elements and characteristics of designs from the Arts and Crafts movement.

The more you study various Arts and Crafts style repeating patterns and prints for wallpaper, fabrics, tiles etc, the more you begin to notice recurring themes, such as the use of motifs from the natural world (birds and flowering plants especially), mirroring and hourglass shapes.

After absorbing all these different inspirations and leaving them to ‘brew’ for a bit in my head, I got to work with Stitch Mastery, charting out a repeating pattern through trial and error.  I really enjoy this stage of designing stranded colour work patterns, when you’re really inspired by something it just flows and is very satisfying, just like the endless drawing I used to do as a child.

Eventually, after faffing about with various subtly different ways of representing birds, I came up with a design I was happy with. Then, on to swatching:

Siskin swatch

Siskin swatch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

This swatch was knitted in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply in Tweed Imps (for the background) and Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in Oyster (for the birds pattern).  I wanted to use a subtly variegated yarn for the background to allow me to use all the rich colours popular in Arts and Crafts designs, without introducing too many different yarns and give the pattern depth.

But what to do with the colour work pattern?  My original idea had been to use it for a small crescent-shaped shawl, but that would be a bit of a faff working to a tight deadline, so I settled on a tablet/e-Reader cosy, just the right size for a Kindle or iPad Mini.

Arts and Crafts tablet case sketch

Arts and Crafts sketch
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

Of course it didn’t end up as a tablet case did it?  Kate from Knit now emailed me to tell me that she would like my design to be in the magazine, but that they had rather a lot of tablet cosy designs…. could I make it into a hat perhaps?

I panicked for a weekend while I worked out what to do.

The pattern repeat was big, I knew the shaping would probably end up interrupting the pattern messily and that grading it for three adult sizes would be impossible.  But I really wanted to accept the commission, because I was excited about the design.  What to do?

Being a glutton for punishment and not good at saying no to offers of work I decided to offer a couple of alternatives.  A cushion, or a little crescent shawl (my original, rather ambitious plan) perhaps?  Kate replied that either would be fine so I could choose.  So I chose the crescent shawl, because I really wanted to make it!

In due course, the yarn was chosen and sent out to me, (Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend Fino in Lava #6921 for the background and Topaz #2220 for the birds pattern) and I got to work.  I had a panic about the amount of work I had to do in the time available (with Christmas slap bang in the middle) and got started! After a lot of late nights and only Christmas Day off from the long rows of fairisle, I finished knitting the shawl!  Yay!

Siskin finished!

Siskin finished!
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

…..it’s just as neat on the back too (I always stranded the background colour above the birds pattern colour – this makes the stitches for the birds pattern very slightly longer and gives it more impact – doing this consistently throughout the whole piece keeps the knitting neat on the right and wrong sides of the work) making the wrong side look almost like a tapestry.

Wrong side vs right side

Wrong side vs right side
(Copyright Charlotte Walford 2013)

So, all the hard work was worth it in the end, just look at the gorgeous photos taken on the photo shoot that Kate arranged at Gorton Monastery:


Siskin, photographed at Gorton Monastery
(Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing 2014, used with kind permission)

Hope you like it!

Lottie x