shawl

The PPS - Larger version

2 skein version of the Pattern Please Shawl

2 skein version of the Pattern Please Shawl

For some reason it seems to be the week of 'large things’

Whether it’s been my break from Instagram or something in the air but it seems to be the week for finishing up larger scale projects. Earlier in the week I finished up my large scale Garter Ripple Squish - freeing myself of just over a kilo of scrap yarn in the process.

Yesterday I finally sorted out the update to my Pattern Please Shawl - The PPS - on Ravelry. This is a more generously sized version of the 1 skein original. It uses 2 x 100g skeins of sock weight (fingering weight) yarn - pictured here is a sample using ‘Heliotrope’ in Hayton 4ply from Eden Cottage Yarns (pink) and ‘And You’ll Hand me Your Weapon’ from Third Vault Yarns.

If you’ve already purchased the pattern, you should have received the update in the usual way. I know that a lot of people expressed an interest in knitting a larger version and I’m so excited to see what you come up with.

Happy Knitting

A new design and a realisation

This week saw most of my plans crumble like a soggy digestive. A recurring inner ear problem put me firmly out of action for a few days and meant that my lovely neat content calendar went disregarded - seriously cross - I used coloured pens and everything.

But I did manage to launch my new shawl design - The PPS* - which I was really pleased about. And a huge thank you to everyone who has been in touch, bought the pattern or talked about it to their friends. I really appreciate it, and seeing it on the front page of Ravelry patterns (albeit briefly) was a huge boost - Thank You.

In the past though I would have been stressed about what I was not doing, about things that I “should” be doing. They were in my planner for heavens sake - therefore they must be done.

This time though I listened to my inner voice - the one that sounds uncannily like my Mum. Telling me that I really couldn’t do it all. That trying to battle on through a horrible combination of vertigo and seasickness was never going to end well. And that it was OK to just take a few days off.

And so I did. And I have to say that it felt really good. Maybe, just maybe that pesky inner voice knows what it’s talking about sometimes.

*The PPS - why the name?

It stands for the Pattern Please Shawl - which if you are a member of any online communities (Facebook - I’m looking at you) you’ll instantly recognise as the pesky phrase that pops up repeatedly when people share their work but don’t share every last detail of the pattern/yarn/needles. I’m easily amused, I know but I quite like the idea of people asking “pattern please” when folk share an image of their completed shawls to which the response can quite legitimately be “why yes it is, how did you guess”

I told you I was easily amused - although judging from your response I think that quite a few of you also share my sense of humour

Knits - how do you wear yours?

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Scrolling through my Instagram feed recently it suddenly struck me that something was missing. I share a lot of photos of knits in progress (also coffee and cats) but hardly any photos of the finished pieces being used or actually worn. There are the occasional glimpses of socks or things in the background but very rarely do I actually take a photo of the finished knit "in the wild", as it were.

Once I noticed this I started to notice it in general, in other people's feeds as well. Of course it makes perfect sense when you think about it. Not all of us are particularly comfortable in front of a camera (I know that I'm not) and we don't always have a willing photographer to hand. And no matter how hard I try and how many lessons I have from my 15 year old niece - I'm still to master the art of the selfie that doesn't make me look slightly deranged.

So, I thought I would come at the problem from a different angle and use the type of shot beloved by Instagram users - of the flatlay - only with knitwear. The idea was to show my outfit for the day and to show how I pair something I've knit - in this case my Worth The Fuss shawl - with my everyday wardrobe. The yarn is Titus 4ply from Eden Cottage Yarns just in case you were wondering. The colourway is a beautiful one called Starling and just like the feathers of it's namesake there are tiny flashes of bright greenish-yellow within the grey which my photos really don't do justice to.

I'm pleased to say that even though I was worried folks might think me a little strange, the post has done really well on Instagram this morning, with lots of people commenting on how they like to wear their knits and also talking about how they might incoporate this into their future posts.

Apart from shows and yarn festivals I don't often get to see many knitters in my day to day life and yet I love to see how people wear their finished items and how they combine them with other pieces in their wardrobe to come up with finished outfits.

I've yet to think up a cunning hashtag for this yet - watch this space - but I'd love to know what you think of this idea and whether you think it's something you think would be fun/useful/inspirational. 

You can either head over to the the Instagram post to join in the conversation or leave a comment here.

KISS Shawl - a new pattern release

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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.

Second verse same as the first

Knitting away on my Starting Point shawl I find that this refrain "Second verse same as the first" keeps flitting through my mind.

The rational part of my brain knows that any shawl which calls for 5 x 100g skeins of 4ply yarn is going to involve A Lot Of Knitting. But then there is the cold hard reality that dawns when you complete the loveliness that is the end of Clue 1. You smooth it out, you admire and pat it, you weave in the ends... oh OK, You got me there. You know me too well.

Then you realise that you have to make another piece exactly the same before you can dive into Clue 2. Sigh!

Still, this time around I know what it should look like and it's fresh in my mind so I can just steam ahead. 

In case you are wondering, I'm keeping the textured stitches to a minimum so I just have the ribbed section for yarn 2 and i'm replacing the eyelet rows with plain stocking stitch - it's just my personal preference.

Chronic Indecision

Eden Cottage Yarns Starting Point MKAL Pack 12

Eden Cottage Yarns Starting Point MKAL Pack 12

My knitting time today should be devoted to sleeve knitting and swatching for a new design submission. This little yarn delivery is calling my name however and I'm trying to resist.

This is Pack 12 from Eden Cottage Yarns and is destined for a Starting Point shawl.

This was originally released as a Mystery KAL and obviously now I know what it looks like it isn't exactly a mystery, but how it is put together intrigues me so I'm still planning on knitting it clue by clue, without reading ahead.

I absolutely couldn't decide on colours and yarns for this. In fact if you added up all the time I've spent rootling in my stash and surfing web sites I could have probably knitted the darned thing already.

So in the end I let the lovely Laura at Eden Cottage Yarns take care of it and send me one of their brilliant KAL packs. It's absolutely perfect and I'm so pleased with the colours. I love some of the really vibrant ones I've seen on Instagram and Ravelry but I asked for more subtle colours for my own pack - just because I know they will go with more of the colours I already have in my wardrobe.

After all, if I'm going to spend an eternity knitting this thing (and my, it is quite an undertaking) I want to be able to wear it at every opportunity.

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.

 

Progress...and a quandry

I'm sure it can't just be me who always seems to reach a sticking point partway through their project. All is going swimmingly, the yarn is fabulous, you love the way it works with the pattern and then, all of a sudden, nothing. All motivation dries up, disappears and the project descends into the the WIP basket never to be seen again.

For me, the crucial point is about 75% of the way through something. Even though my logical brain tells me that just a bit more effort and I'll be casting off, my less than rational brain is yearning to go and do something else. This is often compounded, as in the case of this shawl, when a crucial design decision is needed.

This is warm and squishy DK weight yarn and I'm keen to use as much of the yarn I had as possible - Cumbria DK from The Fibre Co. I'm now at the stage to do the border and the plan I had in my head doesn't look quite right. I find myself in a quandry and so of course I do what I normally do in this situation - cast on for something else.

But, today I am being good. It's coffee at the ready and thinking caps on. Today this shawl will have a border and I will be a happy designer - probably.

Hurry up...

If force of will alone were sufficient this shawl would have been finished days ago. It has reached the point where I am willing it to be finished. Willing those last 20 to 30g of yarn to form themselves into neat little garter stitches just so that I can whip the thing off my needles and wrap it around my neck.  As the end of a project approaches there are usually a variety of emotions which include, but are not limited to relief, frustration, joy or pride.  With some projects you are having so much fun knitting them that the end almost creeps up on you and catches you unawares. Some you finish with a sense of relief, a sense of duty done and you can finally set it aside and work on something more joyful. But never, I don't think have I wanted to cast off a project so badly.  Not because I'm not enjoying it - it is fabulous easy and soothing knitting. Not because I don't like the yarn or the project - both are lovely and a delight to work on.   It's just that this shawl sums up everything about this fleeting season that I love. Bright sunny days (sometimes), beautiful cherry blossom, fresh vibrant green buds and slightly grey, misty mornings. All summed up in garter stitch goodness just waiting to be wrapped around my neck.  So, armed with strong coffee and a packet of chocolate digestive I've set myself the task of getting to the picot bind off by bedtime tonight. Wish me luck...

If force of will alone were sufficient this shawl would have been finished days ago. It has reached the point where I am willing it to be finished. Willing those last 20 to 30g of yarn to form themselves into neat little garter stitches just so that I can whip the thing off my needles and wrap it around my neck.

As the end of a project approaches there are usually a variety of emotions which include, but are not limited to relief, frustration, joy or pride.  With some projects you are having so much fun knitting them that the end almost creeps up on you and catches you unawares. Some you finish with a sense of relief, a sense of duty done and you can finally set it aside and work on something more joyful. But never, I don't think have I wanted to cast off a project so badly.

Not because I'm not enjoying it - it is fabulous easy and soothing knitting. Not because I don't like the yarn or the project - both are lovely and a delight to work on. 

It's just that this shawl sums up everything about this fleeting season that I love. Bright sunny days (sometimes), beautiful cherry blossom, fresh vibrant green buds and slightly grey, misty mornings. All summed up in garter stitch goodness just waiting to be wrapped around my neck.

So, armed with strong coffee and a packet of chocolate digestive I've set myself the task of getting to the picot bind off by bedtime tonight. Wish me luck...

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.