Easter ramblings

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter! My weekend started out well, we went to collect a sofa from the lovely Kate at work, which prompted several shiftings around our living room to see what worked best. We’ve been living with a futon as a settee for the last 2.5 years (see photo in last post) and it has been gradually depressing me.  This seems to use less space in the living room and it actually feels like a grown-ups room now, as opposed to something more studenty.


Shifting turned to decluttering and soon I was sorting through all my knitting books and giving them their own shelves.  Although it seems the odd few other tall books may have snuck in there too!


Just as everything was starting to look nice, we hit a few problems. A persistent leak dripping from the bath into the kitchen, which has been going for years un-noticed, is now quite apparent. And wet.  Then an avalanche of paper-work, books, musical instruments, a stereo and a printer in Chris’s studio, as the shelves containing them decided enough was enough.  Oops.  This led to taking a car-boot full of stuff to the charity shop and a couple of long days tidying and reorganising EVERYTHING.


Isn’t it funny though how sometimes it takes something that seems like a nightmare at the time to make you sort yourself out? It was so refreshing to throw things out, relabel stuff we wanted to keep in boxes, and make everything so much more minimal.

Freeing up plenty of space to do some crafting 🙂



FO Friday – Aleph Cardigan

I have been meaning to post this picture for ages, after blocking my finished Aleph cardigan back in November! I had some problems knitting the sleeves, but fixed them (after some frogging and re-knitting) and this cardigan became a firm winter favourite.

knitted garment on mannequin
Photo by Philip Sowels, Future Publishing

The knitting pattern is by Hannah-Cuviello,, which I have modified slightly, and this photo was taken for the ‘On my Needles’ section of Issue 70 of the Knitter, where I talk about what I’ve finished, the projects I’m working on, and what I’m making next!  We feature this column every month, and take turns in the office to show our projects and what we are up to.  It’s a nice way to give some love to designers I think, and is featured on the ‘Patterns we love’ page.

For those of you that are interested, my WIP is Saxifrage, by Rachel Coopey, which I haven’t actually picked up since I was in Sri Lanka! I’ve been working on several commissions recently and am looking forward to having some ‘me’ knit time in a few weeks 🙂

cast on sock on whitePhoto by Philip Sowels, Future Publishing

And one of those things I will be knitting for myself will be the Bella shawl by Annie Baker. I want this so much and have just the yarn for it!

Photo by Annie Baker

Hat KAL in Fyberspates Ravelry group

I’m a bit late in posting this, but there is a KAL featuring two of my hat designs in the Fyberspates group on Ravelry.  There’s still time to join, and you could win a skein of Fyberspates Vivacious DK!

Lace Fyberspates DKGwithian

The options are the recently published DK weight Gwithian.   Or if you prefer, you can knit Autumn Gold in Vivacious 4ply.  Knitters taking part in the KAL can purchase this pattern at 25% off until the 30th November.  Details are in the thread!

Autumn Gold Lace Slouch HatAutumn Gold

Get hat knitting for Christmas!

New Pattern Releases in the US

On Friday I went to Brighton to discuss with Erika Knight the sale of two patterns I have designed for her. These will be available in the USA only, as paper patterns, and I will link to stockists once these are confirmed. The patterns are for a cowl and a pair of mittens in Erika’s new ‘Vintage’ yarn and I am really happy to be working for her.

Why Tension Squares are Your Friends

I know a lot of regular readers of this blog will probably skip this post. It goes without saying how important it is to knit that little square, so it always surprises me when I hear from a reader who has missed this out!

I spoke to a lady recently who was certain the pattern she was following was wrong, because it wasn’t the length suggested when she reached the armhole shaping. She said she had the right needles and the recommended yarn, but her work just didn’t measure what it was supposed to. I asked the obvious question – had she made a tension square? Her answer was no – she was a very experienced knitter and her stitches were always the right gauge. So how did she know that she would knit to the same gauge as the designer?

This is a common error among knitters who are keen to cast on, and may not understand the importance of first knitting a square. I’m always really surprised that experienced knitters want to skip this step. Tension squares are often considered boring and time consuming, and although I understand the need to just get going, often making my little swatch will satisfy that urge anyway. Plus, I’d rather know that my garment is going to fit before getting all the way up to the armpits.

This little 10x10cm square will give you so much information about the size your garment will turn out. As a designer, it’s absolutely crucial I do this in order for you to knit something the same size that I did.

For instance if I make a garment which I say will fit a 36″ bust, it will only fit that size if you are knitting to exactly the same gauge I am. If you are tighter, it will come out much smaller, and no matter how experienced you are and how even you know your stitches will come out, you don’t know what my knitting is like in that yarn, and as the pattern is based on my knitting, and that yarn, you need to make sure you are working to the same tension as me.

It’s also important you have the row tension right.  That means not cheating and just knitting a few rows! All those little increases that are made throughout the body and the sleeves, x times every x rows, are based on that little square of x sts per cm.

And did you know, your tension will also change depending on what sort of needles you use?

Fyberspates 'Rural Charm' Autumn Gold Pattern Swatch
Fyberspates ‘Rural Charm’ Autumn Gold Pattern Swatch

New Pattern Available! Heather Shrug

Please welcome the latest pattern to my collection – Heather!  This bolero was created in Erika Knight’s ‘Vintage Wool’, which is British worsted weight 100% wool.

The name ‘Heather’ was chosen by Tracy at Woolly World of Me, and I think it suits it very well! The bolero is pretty and girly, yet chunky so it progresses quickly.

The warmth of the wool and the looseness of the stitches create a perfect drape, keeping the shrug soft and cosy, yet allowing the air in so you don’t get too warm.










The pattern is available in 5 sizes –

XS (Bust 71-76cm/28-30’)
(Bust 81-86cm/32-34”)
(Bust 91-96cm/36-38”)
(Bust 101-106cm/40-42”)
XL (Bust 111-116cm/44-46”)









This pattern is fun and quick, easily memorised and will suit knitters new to lace.  Created as one piece, this can be knitted in a few evenings in front of the tv, and is perfect for those summer/autumn evenings after the sun has gone down 🙂

Coming soon to a cafe near you!

Hello lovelies, I hope you’ve all had a good week!

I thought I would share first a few photos from the last seven days, nothing too exciting, just out and about! The first is from the beach at Burton Bradstock, which we visited last week to drop in on a friend on the way home from Brighton. I got over enthusiastic about the weaving book in my last post and neglected to find this little gem hidden in my camera.

Burton Bradstock
Burton Bradstock

I also popped down to Exeter last week to wish my Dad a happy birthday, and we enjoyed a cultural couple of days checking out the RAMM and A La Ronde. Both I have visited before, however the museum has been closed for what seems like years, and has since won awards so we were eager to check it out. In all honesty I think I preferred it before, but I seem to be the only one thinking that so I will keep schtum! I miss the clocks gallery, and I’m not so keen on stuffed animals stacked up to the ceiling.

A La Ronde
A La Ronde

A La Ronde is an 18th century ’round house’ built for two spinster cousins after their trip around Europe. It is full of souvenirs from their travels, including shells, feathers and pottery, as well as many crafts they have made themselves. I was unable to take photographs, however was particularly taken by the teeny tiny knitted gloves, a caddy made from quilling, feather freize and a picture made entirely from cut out paper. There is also a shell gallery, which I remember going into when I was small but it has since been closed – the wall from top to bottom, all the way around the top floor of the building is completely covered in shells.

This appears to be my workshop at the moment :-/

I’ve been working on a couple of things since my last post, the Autumn Gold Hat I posted about a couple of weeks ago, and a fair isle cup cosy design for a zillion takeaway cups.


I’m not going to say any more in case I get into trouble, all I can say is that this lovely little snowflake design will be printed onto the cups, along with my label, which will be available in a cafe near you over the colder months!

And I’m quite excited! 🙂


Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012

I’ve decided to set myself a little blog challenge and be a part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012.  It runs from the 23rd to the 29th April and looks like fun 🙂 Though I wish I’d thought about it sooner to allow time for planning, I think I’m just going to jump in feet first and see what happens!

I’ve never taken part in Blog Week before – as many of you may have noticed I don’t always post every week, so this will be a real challenge for me! The idea is that knitting and crochet bloggers all over the world post simultaneously on daily set topics for a week.

If you want to take part or find out about Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, more details can be found on Eskimimi Makes

Some more photos..

Hello! I just wanted to share some of the images I took from the last few days. This 365 project is proving hard during the week as the area I work is so uninspiring! I have noticed that I am becoming much more aware of things though – this was actually one of the reasons I wanted to do the project – small things like flowers, and trees with nice leaves, repetition and colours.

Foot-tapping to Jazz - The Old Duke, Bristol - 366 Days Photography Project
15th January 2012

Leigh Woods - January - 366 Days Photography Project
14th January 2012

Greville Smyth Park - January - 366 Days Photography Project
13th January 2012

Sunset - Cala Trading Estate - 366 Days Photography Project
12th January 2012

Sainsbury Trollies lined up - 366 Days Photography Project
11th January 2012

The first picture is from yesterday, taken in The Old Duke during a jazz gig. The second is from Saturday and was the result of a lovely afternoon walk in Leigh Woods. The third picture is from a very frosty Friday morning, taken on my way to work. I’m trying to make myself get up earlier so I have time to take photos on the way in, as there are a few interesting stops on the way, and it would make for nicer pictures. The forth picture is from Thursday – it is the building I work in lit up by the sunset – it looks almost attractive! And finally, some trolleys at Sainsburys. I wasn’t feeling too inspired on Wednesday but I’m quite pleased with the result.If you click the photos it will take you to my Flickr, where there is a better description of each.Thanks for looking!