Yarn with a mind of its own

Yarn is Manos del Uruguay, Allegria. Colouway Orchid.

Yarn is Manos del Uruguay, Allegria. Colouway Orchid.

After wrangling a new sock yarn purchase for most of the afternoon and battling pooling in it's various guises my yarn and I sat down to have a full and frank exchange of views.

After a glass of wine we decided that actually it didn't want to be socks, that it had never wanted to be socks and that I was cruel and heartless for trying to persuade it into a nice, simple plain vanilla sock.

So, I took the yarn's advice and cast on for a nice garter stitch Fuss Free Festival Shawl instead.

And now everyone is happy.

The moral of the story is clear - sometimes you just have to let the yarn win. And also - a glass of wine helps most (but not all) knitting dramas.

KISS Shawl - a new pattern release


It's a beautiful sunny day, crisp and clear and the perfect day for a new pattern release.

The KISS shawl lives up to its acronym of Keep It Simple Stupid as it is super simple to knit. Starting and ending with just 2 stitches there's no complicated cast on nor do you have to bind off a billion stitches. The lace border is knit on as you go, so at the end  you can just bind off and wear it with pride.

It's perfect for the special skein of sock yarn that you have squirreled away somewhere and because it is knit side to side you can really maximise the yarn you have. Just weigh the yarn periodically and once you have used half you start the decreases. It really is that simple.

The sample here is knit in the fabulous Nether Alderley 4ply yarn from Yarns from the Plain - a beautiful yarn which drapes really well when knit at a relaxed gauge.

The body of the shawl is worked in stocking stitch which really shows off a hand dyed yarn. But if your yarn has speckles or pops of colour it would look equally fabulous with the body knit in garter stitch instead. Or you could knit two version - one of each and see which you prefer.

You can find the pattern here - and there is an early bird discount too (until midnight Feb 9th) - if you are a newsletter subscriber though do check your inboxes as you have something a little special.

Either way, there's no better way to celebrate the coming of spring (allegedly) than with a new shawl.

Worth the Fuss Shawl

Worth The Fuss (WTF) Shawl - sample knit in Eden Cottage Yarns Titus 4ply (Starling)

Worth The Fuss (WTF) Shawl - sample knit in Eden Cottage Yarns Titus 4ply (Starling)

If you've knit the Fuss Free Festival Shawl (and even if you haven't ) this shawl makes a great follow on project if you are looking for something with a little bit more detail. Garter stitch is interspersed with easy-to-count eyelet rows to add texture and interest.

The eyelet rows also have the pleasing effect of increasing the drapiness and maximising the length and depth of shawl that you can get from one skein of 4ply sockweight yarn - ideal for making the most of that precious yarn.

This sample is knit in a precious yarn indeed - Titus 4ply from Eden Cottage yarns in the Starling colourway. If you haven't seen this colourway before keep an eye on Victoria's shop for coming updates (and maybe even sign up to her newsletter to make sure you don't miss it). It's a grey - so of course I love it already - but it has tiny shots of yellow/green/brown - which when viewed as a whole really does remind you of a birds plummage. Its truly stunning and well worth seeking out if you get the chance.

The What The Fuss pattern has a 50% discount from now until the end of October. Just head over to the Ravelry page HERE and use code WTF.

I also have a version on the needles using some beautiful mini skeins which would be an ideal stash buster - so watch this space!


Morning Pages - a hug in shawl form

Morning Pages.

Morning Pages.

Now I appreciate that my timing may be a little off here but please indulge me. This shawl was originally conceived back in February but then had to be set aside for some commission work and it was a few months before it saw the light of day. As soon as it was finished though I knew that I just had to share it with you - because everyone needs a large worsted weight shawl in the middle of a summer heatwave - don't they?

It uses 3 skeins of the glorious Cumbria yarn (a worsted weight) from The Fibre Co and it was inspired by listening to the wonderful Kate of the A Playful Day podcast. She was talking about getting up early in the morning to work and write whilst her tot slept on, and even though my boys are a little older now, this is something I can totally relate to. Even now I often set the alarm for 5am to get my important tasks for the day out of the way before the rest of the house wakes. And our kitchen gets pretty cold in winter.

So, the Morning Pages shawl is a really generous, wrappable shawl which is technically semi-circular but is actually shaped like 3 sides of a square - but Ravelry don't have a classification for a three-quarters square. The garter stitch gives a great squishable texture and the contrast bands of stocking stitch really allow your chosen contrast colour to pop out. This is a great one to play with colour combinations and be a little adventurous.


Fickle Steps - a new sock design

Fickle Steps by Louise Tilbrook Designs

Fickle Steps by Louise Tilbrook Designs

After months of keeping it under wraps I am really pleased to let you know that I have a new sock design published - in a fabulous new magazine called Rib.

Aimed at men who knit and those who knit for them this is only the magazine's second issue but it has already built a considerable following on Ravelry and on Instagram. They have a wonderful clean and pared back aesthetic and the designs in this issue all have that immediate appeal that makes you want to grab your needles and cast on immediately.
I was so pleased to be able to work with them and also to have to chance to work with some fabulous yarn -Nomade - from Julie Asselin

Fickle Steps is a pattern for a unisex cuff down sock with a design that is fun to work and easy to remember.

There are some great sweater patterns in this issue too and I can see them appealing to both men and women. The Survey Pullover for example would make a great addition to my wardrobe!

I do hope you pop over and take a look at the magazine and I'd love to know what you think.


A new KAL you say? Oh.. go on then...

Fuss Free Festival Shawl by Louise Tilbrook Designs

Fuss Free Festival Shawl by Louise Tilbrook Designs

And why not? Its a bank holiday in the UK and a project this simple and straightforward practically knits itself.

We all love a good excuse for a cheeky bank holiday cast on, so why not grab a skein of lovely sock weight yarn and join us. No rules, just lots of fun and garter stitch.

Join us over on the Everyday Knitter Facebook group or use the hashtag #fussfreefestivalshawl on social media so we can all see what you are working on.

The pattern is still free for another week or so if you sign up to my email newsletter so if you haven't snagged a copy yet you might want to while you have the chance.

What is a sock yarn swap anyway?

So, what's all the fuss about a sock yarn mini swap anyway?

If you are a member of the Everyday Knitter Facebook group you may have seen that we had so much fun with our last mini swap that we are doing it again. Many of us are knitting sock yarn blankets or scrap yarn projects and as much as we love our own stashed yarn it can be a real bonus to have an injection of colour from someone else's stash.

So, the sock yarn mini swap idea was born. For minimum hassle and maximum knitting time we use an app called Elfster which is an automated gift exchange service. You register and then after the sign-up deadline has passed you will automatically matched up to a swap partner. The swap is reciprocal - ie you both exchange gifts with each other.

If your swap partner has any particular preferences it's good to take these into account when choosing which yarns to send. You can set up your preferences by using the 'wish list' function in Elfster.

You then just need to wind off your chosen yarns into 5g mini balls or skeins. It isn't necessary at all to skein them but if you would like to there is a great tutorial here on how to do it. It's also nice to label the skeins - dyer and colourway - so that your partner knows what they are. It's a great way to discover new-to-you dyers or to get your mitts on something that you haven't had a chance to try out before.

Then just write a little note, pop everything in a Jiffy bag and post it by the deadline. It's a good idea to register on Elfster that you have sent your parcel. As an admin - that makes my job so much easier.

Then, when your parcel arrives please take a little picture and let us know about it on the Facebook Group. You can also record it as received on Elfster. This shows your swappee that their parcel has arrived safely and hopefully that you are happy with the contents.

All that remains to be done is to grab your sock yarn blanket and add your new mini skeins, along with some happy memories of a new knitty friend you've made.


Yewbarrow Socks

It makes me very happy to be able to send my latest sock design out into the world today.

Yewbarrow is a fabulous, accessible mountain in Wasdale in the Lake District. Perfect for our boys when they were smaller to stretch their mountain legs and get used to steep rock scrambles and uneven terrain.

Viewed from the lakeside Yewbarrow looks formidable but once the first rocky ascent is done it is actually a pretty easy walk. Likewise these toe-up socks look complicated but the cable pattern is actually a very easy repeat to memorise.

You can purchase the pattern and find all the details on Ravelry - please use code YEWBARROW20 for a 20% discount. If you are a newsletter subscriber though please check your email for an exclusive code.



The Fuss Free Festival Shawl

For this new shawl design I was lucky enough to be able to collaborate with Leona of Rusty Ferret yarns and Gem of The Little Grey Girl. Leona created an exclusive Edinburgh colourway of Rusty Ferret and Gem had her exclusive project bag to go with it.

I have created a shawl design especially to compliment this spectacular yarn and with yarn that's such fun garter stitch is the only way to go. The pattern is now available to purchase on Revelry or it is free for a limited time to my newsletter subscribers. 

The Fuss Free Festival Shawl is designed to be the perfect shawl to cast on at a knitting festival. You've snagged that perfect skein of yarn and some obliging soul has wound it into a cake for you. All you want to do is cast on, rest your aching feet and knit on a nice soothing project. Lots of garter stitch and easy to remember increases make this project for festival times. The slipped stitch border gives great structure and drape to the shawl and the finished item has a fabulous, relaxed crescent shape which is eminently wrappable and easy to wear. A picot bind off adds a touch of interest but is easily omitted if you would prefer to leave it plain.

It is easily customisable to suit the yarn you have. I am making a larger size right now by adding a contrast colour as stripes and I'm excited to see how big it can go.

I'd love to see your yarn choices for this. If you do cast it on please let me know or tag me on sick media.


Spring has sprung

Not many words today but a heck of a lot of gorgeous spring-like colour. I'm not normally one for knitting with the seasons and I don't tend to make conscious choices of colour but sometimes the right yarn crosses your path and it is just pure serendipity.

This gorgeous fresh green from Countess Ablaze (via the new Classics Society subscription club) is sheer heaven.

Vibrant tonal greens which practically sing at you. It reminds me alternately of fresh green grapes and zingy limes and is a total pleasure to knit with.

I  cast on for another version of a new shawl pattern I will be releasing at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. The Fuss Free Festival Shawl pattern will be available from the lovely ladies at the Little Grey Girl and Fluph Shop when you purchase their exclusive Edinburgh wares. The ideal shawl that you can just drop everything and cast on. Perfect for when you are at a festival and want to get your special yarn on the needles right away.

Look out for more details in the coming days.

February Sock Challenge

Following on from the success of January's Brioche Challenge, February is going to be all about the socks - a subject that pleases me greatly.

Obviously we are all at different stages in our sock journey and so the type of challenge you pick is entirely up to you. As long as it involves socks or sock yarn it totally counts. Some ways that you might participate include (but are not limited to):

  • A new type of sock construction for you - toe-up if you're a cuff down devotee
  • A new type of heel/toe
  • A new technique such as cabling, lace or even (dare I say it) brioche?
  • Challenge yourself to use up a long term resident of your sock yarn stash
  • Use a new type of yarn in your socks - alpaca maybe?

The choice is yours. There is always the option to 'double dip' and join in with the Ravelry UK Sock Knitters group who have a sock KAL starting shortly. And of course, with spring not quite making its presence felt here in the Northern Hemisphere, February sees the return of last year's seasonal #knityellowsocks project- because whose day isn't cheered up by seeing a pair of sunny yellow socks?

So, in short, grab your needles, chose some yarn and get ready for a sock cast on. There will be lots of links and resources over in the Facebook Everyday Knitter group so hop on over and join us if you haven't already.