Have You Any Wool?

It’s been a full week, with much of it being dedicated to my next design commission. The pattern is written for the back and both fronts and for the sleeves up to the underarms. So, really it’s just the sleeve caps and the collar to do in terms of writing/grading. This design is in 10 sizes. The sample size required will be too small for me to wear once I get it back, but it does mean that it will take less time to knit! The yarn arrived a few days ago and it’s a really gorgeous, vibrant colour:

It’s a really soft pure wool yarn that I’ll tell you more about in the coming weeks. Later on today I’m going to cast-on the back for the sample! Hurrah!

This evening I’m teaching a stranded colour-work workshop at Yarn O’clock. Stranded colour-work is one of my favourite knitting techniques, as you’ll know if you’ve looked at my pattern pages. It used to almost always be referred to as Fair Isle knitting, but the term stranded colour-work is becoming more common now. The idea is having two contrasting yarns being used in each row, one as the background colour and one as the pattern colour, and handling the yarns so they create neat ‘floats’ or strands of yarn across the back and a consistent colour-work design on the front. I’ll be taking some of stranded designs with me this evening for the knitters to examine and help them understand what they are aiming for.

This is what they are going to be making:

I’ve left the yarn ends loose on this swatch deliberately so I can demonstrate how to weave the ends in tonight.

As well as working on my new design, I’ve been making good progress with my Umbriel sweater in Cirro from The Fibre Co. I found a few issues with numbers and mirrored instructions in the back shoulders and front of the pattern and have made a note of them. I ended up counting stitches in one row at least six times, along with checking the fabric for dropped stitches, before going back to the pattern and doing some maths. One too many stitches instructed to be knit after an initial cast-off caused me quite a headache for a good few minutes! I have now finished the whole body and I’m pleased with it:

The next stage is to seam the shoulders. Stitches are then picked up around the armholes to work the sleeves top down. I might do both at once, or I might just make notes of any changes I have to make as I go. Knitting two sleeves at once avoids the ‘sleeve island’ that many knitters often feel marooned on, and it does mean that the sleeves are highly likely to match – so long as you remember to swap between the two sleeves every one or two rounds. However, I often prefer to make sure a sleeve works for me, writing down any changes to the pattern, going quite slowly with the first and then knit the second one more quickly from my notes. Also, there is always the possibility of getting the two balls of yarn tangled or more seriously mixed up by knitting on a sleeve with the yarn from the other, or forgetting to switch between the two or it just feeling like a sleeve is taking twice as long as it should (because you’re making two at once)!

I probably won’t start the sleeves now until after Buxton Wool Gathering.

In preparation for Buxton Wool Gathering, I’ve printed even more patterns over the past couple of days, including the final version of Am Byth, which is also available as an update for those who’ve already bought it, and Bargello Aurora Wrap which was first published in The Knitter in September (Issue 180). Before the printing could take place, the photos had to be taken and much laughter and fun was had on Saturday afternoon in the garden as Sue took over 200 pics! At least with so many to choose from I can be ruthless about the ones I don’t like – these are usually the ones that catch me looking gormless or pulling an odd face!

Am Byth is already available in my online stores, and Bargello Aurora Wrap is available as part of The Knitter issue 180 either as a back issue or as an ebook on Ravelry. I’m going to add Bargello Aurora Wrap as a single pattern to my online stores after the show at Buxton this weekend.

I’m really looking forward to Buxton. I’ll be heading there on Friday to set up in the afternoon and my lovely wife will join me later in the weekend as my ‘booth babe’ – the amazing person who talks enthusiastically to knitters, helps find things, get cups of tea and holds the fort when I need the loo!

I’ll be on Stand 31, circled in orange and a full list of vendors can be seen here.

It’s only £5 entry for the day or £8 for a weekend ticket, which is very good value I think. Held in the Buxton Pavilion Gardens, the show is open 10am-4pm on both days, with entry from 11am for those who buy tickets on the door.

The only potential spanner in the works at the moment is the weather forecast. We woke up to a centimetre of snow here in North Wales this morning. It’s all gone now – even though it took some of it until about an hour ago to melt where the sun wasn’t shining. I usually like snow, but not when I need to travel in it. Still, the tyres are all good and I’m going to allow myself plenty of time. But please keep your fingers crossed for good weather for me anyway?

I’ll tell you all about how it went next week! ‘Til then, take care, stay warm and do something that makes you happy. K x

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