Wet Blocking!

I just wanted to share my process for hat blocking.

Fill the sink with cool water, pop hat in and make sure it’s soaked. (Add some wool soak if desired, I was out! ) Leave for 10 mins, then gently squeeze out the excess water. Roll the knitwear in a towel and walk over it to help squeeze out any more water. Stretch the hat over a balloon inflated roughly to the size of your head and leave to dry 🙂

Tip – if it’s a cold day your balloon will shrink! So pop it in a warm window instead for maximum blocking time.

Swatching Again..

I’ve been off the design wagon (and out of the blogosphere entirely) since before I went on maternity leave, and reformatting and uploading my old patterns here recently got me itching to get going again.

When I’m working out a stitch pattern I always start with a rough chart that gets edited as I go along. The pattern evolves as the swatch gets longer.

I think I am getting there with this one now. It was going to be socks, but the repeat was too large, then I was picturing a hat but now I am thinking shawl edging maybe. It’s a pleasing one to knit.

A few years ago my entire stash was kept in a box in the cupboard under the boiler. One day there was a leak and half the box filled with water before I noticed there was a problem. The colours ran into each other but I couldn’t bring myself to throw all of it away. The best stuff I had to wash, dry and reskein.

This was a skein of Socks Yeah! which ended up with purple splodges all through it, I think it works quite well with this colour way though!


Knitted socks shot on wooden floor

**Updated 2022**

£4.70Add to cart

I wrote this knitting pattern around Christmas time, but it was decided that it would go in our special bumper edition of The Knitter Issue 100. The socks are knitted in Coopknits Socks Yeah!  which comes in 10 awesome colours and I love them all equally.

Using Judy’s Magic Cast On, the pattern is knitted toe-up, with a 4-row lace repeat worked across the instep. After you have turned the heel you get to mix things up a bit and knit some cables up the leg. This makes it a fun sock that doesn’t get monotonous – and it obliterates second sock syndrome as the foot section knits up quite quickly.

Errata from the version in The Knitter
In Chart A, the cable in row 1 should show the same as the cable in row 3, and they should both be worked as thus: slip next st to cn and hold at front of work, K1, then K1 from cn. (This has been corrected on the most recent PDF)

To Fit Foot Circumference
S (M: L)
19.5 (22: 26)cm
7.5 (8.75: 10.25)in

Actual Foot Circumference
S (M: L)
151/2 (17: 20)cm
6 (6.75: 7.75)in

Coop Knits Socks Yeah! (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon; 50g/212m/231yds)
2 x 50g skeins of Ammolite

A set of 2.25mm (UK 13/US 1) double pointed needles (DPNs) or circular needles, 80cm long if using Magic Loop method

2 stitch markers

36 sts and 53 rounds to 10x10cm (4x4in) over st st using 2.25mm (UK 13/US 1) needles.
Instep Chart measures 4cm from centre of wrap3 to centre of next wrap3

Making a Wedding Outfit Part 3, The Cardigan!

I’m really sad I hardly wore this cardigan on our wedding day. It was sunny in the daytime (but not massively warm), and for some reason I went without it. I think I thought I’d look better in pictures without it, as I’d really made it in case it was cold, but as a result there are only a handful of photographs of me wearing it. 

The pattern is Marianne by Sharon Miller, from Rowan Magazine issue 37:

Photo by Rowan Yarns
I used Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Marmalade (596), which I was unsure about to begin with as it’s soooo fluffy!! Actually it looks really lovely. I am not a fluffy person at all, but now I’m looking for an occasion I can wear this for more than 10 minutes! 

yarn on white
Photo courtesy of Immediate Media

There are mixed reviews of Kidsilk Haze online, and having never worked with it before, I was interested to see what it would be like to knit with. I have to say, I had no problems with it whatsoever, I was just careful not to make (too many) mistakes.  I worked the cardigan in one piece to the armholes and there was a bit of fudging to try and keep the pattern during the shaping, but the fuzziness of the yarn hides this quite well!  The pattern was easily memorised once I got going and it was good fun to knit up.

Photo by Jesse Wild, Wild Wedding Photos
I made a few adaptations to the pattern; I lengthened the sleeves and lowered the neckline. I wanted to be able to wear it open without it looking odd and hanging funny, so I started the neck decreases at the same time as the first armhole cast offs, then calculated how often to do them to end up with the right stitch count for the shoulders. 

I also omitted any sort of button band, as I liked the shape with the new neckline. Instead I went around the opening with one row of single crochet and fastened off. This picture shows the shape of it quite well:

Photo by Jesse Wild, Wild Wedding Photos
Photo by Jesse Wild, Wild Wedding Photos
Consequently, despite the extra sleeve length I still used far less yarn than the pattern called for, so if anyone is looking for a ball of Kidsilk Haze Marmalade from dye lot 3929 then let me know!



Simply Knitting 133
Simply Knitting 133
Simply Knitting 133

Published in Simply Knitting 133 (click to purchase issue)

I designed this pattern using Knitpicks Palette which is 4ply weight, 100% wool and comes in every colour under the sun. I found there was a surprisingly small amount of patterns for similar v-neck cardigans in 4ply on Ravelry, so I ended up crunching a few numbers. I’m planning to make at least 3 more, it’s a real staple cardigan and I love the neckline.  The yarn is lovely and it knits up really neatly.

The cardigan is worked flat in stocking stitch from the hem up in pieces and then seamed. The garter neck and buttonband is then picked up afterwards and worked around back and forth on a long circular needle.

To Fit Bust
81 (86: 91: 97: 102: 107: 112: 117: 122: 127)cm
32 (34: 36: 38: 40: 42: 44: 46: 48: 50)in

Actual Bust
90 (95: 99: 105: 111: 115: 121: 127: 131: 137)cm
35.25 (37.5: 39: 41.25: 43.75: 45.25: 45.5: 50: 51.5: 53.75)in

59 (59: 60: 60: 60: 60: 61: 61: 62: 62)cm
23.25 (23.25: 23.75: 23.75: 23.75: 23.75: 24: 24: 24.5: 24.5)in

Sleeve Length (All sizes)

Knitpicks Palette (4ply weight, 100% wool, 211m/231yds per 50g ball
4 (4: 4: 5: 5: 6: 6: 7: 7: 7) balls of Canary (25531)

A 2mm (UK 14/US 0) circular needle, 100cm long
A pair of 2.5mm (UK 13/US 1) needles
A pair of 3.25mm (UK 10/US 3) needles
Stitch holder
5 buttons, 1.5cm diameter

25 sts and 38 rows to 10cm over st st using 3.25mm needles
32 sts and 40 rows to 10cm over garter st using 2mm needles



£4.70Add to cart

This pattern originally appeared in The Knitter issue 73. I love these socks; the yarn, the pattern, and how the photos came out. There’s another photo somewhere of them being worn with brogues but I can’t find it.  The pattern is a fun repeat which is easily memorised, and I worked them in Eden Cottage Tempo in ‘Ice’, which I’ve fallen in love with.

To Fit Foot Circumference
S (M-L)
21 (23)cm
81/4 (9)in

Actual Foot Circumference
S (M-L)
17 (19)cm
61/4 (71/2)in

Eden Cottage Yarns Tempo (75% superwash wool, 25% nylon; 100g/400m/436yds)
1 skein of of Ice (01).

A set of 2.25mm (UK 13/US 1) double pointed needles (DPNs) or circular needles, 80cm long if using Magic Loop method

2 stitch markers

38 sts and 44 rounds to 10x10cm (4x4in) over stitch pattern using 2.25mm (UK 13/US 1) needles.

Pattern Notes
A simple 10 round lace pattern repeat gives these top down socks a vintage feel. Knitted seamlessly in the round using a traditional gusset and heel flap. The heel is worked in Eye of Partridge stitch. Yarn overs appear on every round.






Changing your colourway with Photoshop

This week I was given a bag of Rowan Siena, in 8 different colours.  I fancied making a summery top with it, and had been thinking about Marie Wallin’s ‘Eldora’, which we published in The Knitter a couple of months ago.  I sat at lunchtime, deciding which yarn should replace which in the pattern, given that my choices for the ribbing were either blue, green, red or grey.

I got home and decided the easiest way for me to visualise what it would look like would be to recolour the original picture, and I thought a little tutorial for those of you unfamiliar with the process might be a nice gesture.

This is a quick fix, it’s by no means great photoshop work, but it will give you an idea of
what different colourways might look like, if you are intending to recolour a pattern using oddments of your stash.

1) Firstly, scan the photo of the pattern you wish to re-colour.

choosing yarn colours photoshop

2)If your adjustment palette isn’t already showing, you’ll need to make this visible.  Find this under the Window menu.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 18.31.00

3) Next, you want to switch on Quick Mask mode.  This allows you to quickly select the area you want to change.  Double click the little button at the bottom of the tools palette and check the colour indicates selected areas.  Press ok.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 18.31.21

4) Now select the paintbrush tool from the tools palette and make sure that the foreground colour is set to black.  Carefully paint over all the areas that you want to change.  Here I have painted over all of the Blackberry shade, as I want to see what it looks like in blue.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 18.34.22

5) Next press the Quick Mask button or hit ‘Q’ to take you out of Quick Mask mode. The stripes or area you have selected will now have a dashed line dancing around it.

6) Next go to the adjustments palette you brought up at the beginning and select the Selective Colour Adjustment Layer.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 18.34.30

7) This will bring up a bunch of sliders to play with based on the colours in the selection you are changing.  Here I started with the magenta selection, and then changed to neutral, before I got a blue similar to that in my stash of Siena.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 18.36.49

Now you should have something that looks a bit like a dodgy photoshop job, but an idea of what the new colour might look like.

Next you want to open the Layers palette (see above) and make sure you are selected on the Background layer.  This is an important step!

Go back to Quick Mask mode again, by using the button or pressing ‘Q’, and select the next stripe or area you want to change. Repeat from step 4 as many times as necessary until you have covered all the colours.  Don’t worry if you aren’t totally happy with the shades as we are going to go back and edit some of them in a minute.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 18.41.57

I ended up with the above colours, which I was sort of happy with, but wanted to see what other options I had.  If you go back to your Layers palette again, you can select all of the changes you made separately and play with them until you are happy.  You might also find it useful to label your colours (I changed them with every change I made to the shade, so I could easily find which was which.)  Double click the name to change it, or the Selective Colour icon to play with the sliders again.

Screen shot 2014-06-24 at 21.37.20

If you save your file as a psd you’ll be able to go back and edit the colours afterwards, or if you’re totally happy then you can go to Layer/Flatten and save it as a jpeg or tiff.

And there you have it!  The yellow is a bit more acidic than the one in my stash but it has given me a better idea of which colours I could use in the larger stripes.

Play around and see what you end up with!

Knitting by the sea

This weekend we made a spontaneous decision to pack up and run away to the seaside for a few days. Chris was in need of a surf, and I love to sit and watch and get some knitting done!

Here are a few images from our trip…


Chris checking the surf at Gwynver:


Pretty flowers on my walk to Sennen:


 View of Gwynver from my cliff top walk:


Knitting on the cliff (and watching surfers):


 Me playing with binoculars and an iPhone – I love this!



Tasty looking menu!


Picnic at Sennen Cove:


Pretty beetle in a dandelion:


Beer back at the campsite:


Slightly drunken Scrabble:


Keeping warm and being ridiculed for it!