There’s an awful lot to tell you about this week and I’m not sure I’ve got time to write about it all properly. So let’s have lots of photos instead!

I’m currently at mum’s and her daffodils are something to behold (see post pic). I’m borrowing her daffodil bulb catalogue for a bit, so there could be some additions to our garden soon too! Daffins is one of the Scots word for Daffodils and is the name of one of the pieces in the song cycle “A Suite O’ Bairnsangs” by Thea Musgrave (1953). I sang ‘Daffins’ and ‘The Man in the Mune’ as part of one of my later singing exams back in 1992 and still remember most of the words!

The Calon Cariad KAL Show & Tell Zoom was a jolly affair – small and select, but we had a good giggle and the winner of the Nordic Shawls book was drawn from those who had finished. Congratulations to Patricia Gilbert! This is her finished shawl blocking. I’m going to do a big photo feature once everyone has got theirs complete.

I had to send a short bio and headshot to a magazine that I will be published in for the first time this June, so I thought it would be an ideal chance to update my profile photo across all my social media. This was taken in January just before the launch of Small Acts.

I finished seaming the Kaffe Fassett blanket for Chris! I shared a photo of the completed piece on my socials and it quickly became my most liked and re-tweeted post on Twitter ever! (713 likes and counting). Isn’t it fantastic?

I’ve done some more on my Good Riddance socks by Lauroftheblings Designs and I’m loving them. The shadow wraps on the short row heel is a new technique for me and it’s definitely one I’ll use again.

My Gridlock Mitts by Karen Butler are finished and blocked (ie washed and dried flat). I’m very happy with them.

I am getting to the nitty gritty parts of editing An Introduction to Lace Knitting. Only the short to-camera bits at the start and end left to record and then a whole chunk of transcription for the PDF.

See? I said it was a lot. And that’s not counting the ‘secret’ knitting project that I’ve spent MANY hours on – all the ripped out rows have been replaced and I’m much happier with it now – I should have stuck with my original plan from the start. Can’t wait to show you pics of this one!

Take care, do what makes you happy and hold your favourite people and animals close. I’m off to play scrabble with Mum. K x

The Heart of Love

Calon Cariad is Welsh for ‘the heart of love’.

This Friday is the Show & Tell Zoom for our Calon Cariad Knit-along! It seems to have come around really quickly, even though I moved this final event back a week. There are prizes for contributions on social media and anyone who has completed their shawl gets the chance of winning a fabulous book of shawls; Nordic Shawls by Karen Skriver Lauger. If you click on the photo, you get taken to yesterday’s social media post which has more info.

Yesterday, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I went to a friend’s house for lunch. It seems like such a small thing but, apart from eating at my Mum’s house and my in-laws’, I don’t think I’ve had a meal at someone else’s house since the start of the pandemic. It was lovely! Homemade carrot and spinach soup with sourdough bread and a homemade vegan pear and date crumble.

Another thing that happened yesterday was that I took delivery of a VERY large Kaffe Fassett blanket that needed to have the centre seamed with the four pieces of the border. This was not knitted by me, but by a lovely chap whose hand-knitted, but *literally* moth-eaten, jumpers I rescued a few years ago. I’ve already seamed the four edge pieces together and now just need to insert the middle. That’s about six metres of mattress stitch, possibly more. We couldn’t lay it out flat on my lounge floor as it is just too big, so I may end up spreading it on the bed to line up the edges and secure them with lockable stitch markers before bundling it back up again and just having the area I’m working on over my knees. I’ll get a photograph of it somehow once it’s all sewn together and share it with you all as long as Chris (the knitter and owner of the blanket) doesn’t mind.

There has been some progress on my Gridlock Mitts by Karen Butler. I’ve nearly finished the second one!! Some knitting was done at the dentist last Friday and some this morning. I got a temporary filling at the dentist – my first instinct had been correct and pretty much the entire filling had come out. That led to discovery of another tooth with fractures through it and X-rays which showed a few other things. So, a permanent filling and fixing of the fractures is scheduled for the next available appointment – in May! This seems to be a recurrent theme at present – one thing gets investigated and something else gets picked up along the way. Hurrah for the NHS!

Spring is definitely making its presence felt this week – the bumble bees are giant and the spring flowers are really getting going. I’m even typing this outside in the garden. We planted some red cowslips last year that I’d completely forgotten about until this week when I saw them in flower again. Aren’t they fab?

Do you remember the colour repeats I was trying out with coloured pencils in my journal last week? I thought I had chosen exactly the right one, but 32 rows in I had to admit that it just wasn’t working for me. That meant pulling out (frogging) 24 rows and picking the stitches back up, then returning to my original plan, which (guess what?) actually works. That doesn’t sound too bad does it? 24 rows. Now, think about the fact that each of those rows has 673 stitches in it. Can you see why I stayed in denial for so long, before I admitted I wasn’t happy with how the design was looking?

The rows are very long, but there are several good reasons for that. This is a design that has a lot of stitches in one pattern repeat and it creates a zig-zag effect, so those stitches take up far less width than they would on a straight row. Also, being a zig-zag means that you need fewer rows overall to get the height of the finished item AND by working the pattern along the long edge there are fewer colour changes and therefore fewer ends to weave in. So, whilst it might seem like a silly number of stitches, it will be worth it. And I’ve already re-worked four of the rows I had to rip out. It will be a while until I can share this design with you, but I do love it. Which is why I had to get the colour order/depth exactly right.

Sitting here on the patio I’m looking at the veg patch and thinking it really needs hoeing. That will be one of tomorrow’s jobs I think, as I can’t actually plant the veg seed until the forget-me-nots have made room!

Take care, get out in the sunshine if you can and keep knitting. K x

Wrapped in Wool

I seem to be increasingly busy lately and I can’t work out whether it’s entirely due to my increased efforts to make my small, one-woman business successful or partly a way of keeping myself away from the news. There are more deadlines certainly – I’ve been submitting designs to publications more frequently and am being accepted more regularly. I’ve even started looking at calls for submissions and thinking “No, I won’t submit to XYZ this time”!

There are self-imposed deadlines too – I mapped out a publications schedule at the beginning of the year with the aim of publishing at least one pattern per month. I’m keeping up with that currently as so far I have (re)published two patterns whose rights have returned to me and published two brand new patterns. The most recent of these was yesterday – Nos Da is now out in the world!

Next month I aim to publish my next Craftucation course (An Introduction to Lace Knitting) and, as that contains a new pattern of mine, I think that will count as my April pattern. This (and the main photo of today’s post) is a screenshot from this morning’s recording, looking at knitted-on edgings.

And June will see two patterns being published by different companies.

I’ve been baking again too. Regular yeasted bread most recently, though I will be returning to the sourdough soon! This was last weekend’s loaf:

Some knitters have recently cast off their Calon Cariad shawls and I joined them last night! It’s lovely to see other people’s shawls and how their yarn choices are working up. Have a look at #CalonCariadKAL on Instagram and Facebook if you want to see them!

Mine ‘just’ needs blocking now. I’m very lucky to have space to do this on blocking mats on the floor, I know. I know people block their shawls on the washing line and weight the lower edge with clothes pegs. Others pin their work out on the bed (I’m sure I’ve even read of the Yarn Harlot doing this on hotel beds in extremis!).

I cast on another project this week too. I know I have about seven on the go already, but the structure of this one was fascinating me and sometimes the only way to really understand something is to do it! It’s the Intro Helmet from Woolly Wormhead, part of her new Introspection collection. The idea is that you can knit any of the six hat styles (Beanie, Beret, Bonnet, Helmet, Pixie and Slouch) with any weight of yarn and in any size! There are loads of crown and brim options for each one too. I’m using some handspun yarn (Colours of Cambria in ‘Mine’, dyed by Katie Weston of Hilltop Cloud) which is working up at about an aran weight. I read through the pattern and the folded brim for the helmet seemed mind-boggling, but once I started making it, it was suddenly started to make sense. I love how the colours are working out too – though that purple band is destined to be on the inside of the hat, unless I wrangle it somehow.

And I’ve dug my colouring pencils out again. I’m playing with options for a knitting design I’m working on. I know the order I want to use the colours in and I’ve been experimenting with the way repeats of the colour sequence might work. It’s a really cool pattern and I’m very excited about it, but you’ll have to wait until September to see this one!

All this making means that some things must have slipped, right? Well, I’m not exactly on top of the dusting and I haven’t yet planted the broad bean or courgette/squash seeds we bought last month, but that’s not a total disaster. Dust only settles behind you as you do it anyway. And there’s still plenty of time for the seeds.

Just don’t ask me to listen to Les Miserables at the moment – that’s more than I can cope with right now. I played some on my laptop accidentally earlier on and had to switch it off, before the keys got wet.

Stay safe and do more of what makes you happy, K x

Just Because I’m a Woman

Today is International Women’s Day. A good day to celebrate not only the famous women we admire, but also the real life women in our daily lives. The ones who inspire us, impress us, love us and live with us. The theme for International Women’s Day this year is “Break the Bias!” – the link takes you straight to their website where you can find out more about the work they are doing. Go and read it – I’ll still be here when you’re done.

Today’s post title is a great song by Dolly Parton, a woman who knows what it is to be strong, so of course I HAD to use the photo of when Sue and I had a Meet & Greet with the great lady in June 2014 – it would have been rude not to!

When I was born, and my mum realised I was a girl, (her first thought on seeing my long back was that I must be a boy), the first thing she said was, “Poor little thing, she’s got to go through all this.” While my “all this” hasn’t involved childbirth, there have been many things in my life I wouldn’t have had to deal with had her first guess been correct. Then again, I’m sure I’ve had a very different experience in many ways from the one my mum had – although there have been many similarities too. My mum is certainly one of the women I think of today and I have been spending some time working on the embroidery of her. You can just about begin to see the outline appearing now.

A piece of cream linen with patches of tiny black, dark green and dark brown stitches. The fabric is marked off in squares with fine black thread and pale blue thread marks the centre lines. The image of a laughing woman can just be made out in the emerging picture.

I’ve completed two colours (I think I’ve completed them anyway!) and have just started the third – of forty-five…!

I see so many amazing, creative, strong, funny and resilient women sharing their work, brilliance and selves online everyday, even though I don’t see many people in ‘real life’ on a daily basis and it’s hard not to be inspired by them.

The one woman I see more than any others is, of course, my wife. She is astonishing. I am in awe of what she does in her day job, and that she then manages to write such great poetry and be an all round fabulous human too? It’s mind-blowing really. She’s reading some of her poetry tonight actually, at an event with Gloucestershire Poetry Society. It’s online from 7pm-10pm GMT (UTC) and it’s free!

A screenshot from the Gloucestershire Poetry Society's Facebook Page Event listing. The International Women's Day logo is on the left in purple. On the right is a cartoon drawing of three diverse women in the "Break the Bias!" pose of arms crossed with hands upwards and the text "Break the Bias!" above. Under this are the details for the poetry event "'Raised Voices' online in Celebration of International Women's Day" Today from 19:00-22:00. The image is clickable.

And as for me? I have been true to my word this week and started recording again for my Introduction to Lace Knitting course. I’m all set up to record the next section tomorrow as well, all being well.

And what about the knitting, I hear you ask? That has been very busy too! I have:

  • swatched a shawl that I can’t show you
  • worked on a sweater design that I can’t show you
  • started some socks
  • recorded a short video for one section of the Calon Cariad Knitalong &
  • finalised the fancy bits of a pattern that is being released next Monday! Newsletter subscribers, you already have your discount code for this one.

Do you want some photos of the things I can show you? Go on, then.

The front page of a sock pattern lies on a pale gold carpet. On the right side is a photo of the finished socks. On top of the left side of the page lies a toe-up sock in progress on dpns. The yarn is maroon and silver held together at the toe and changing to two colour brioche after the ball of the foot. There’s only about an inch of brioche before the needles.

The socks are Good Riddance socks by Lauroftheblings Designs and I’m using up sock yarn and also other 4-ply leftovers from previous projects and designs.

A hand knitted shawl in progress in neon pink lies on a wooden desk. The bottom part of the knitting has rows of lace hearts, above which is a stocking stitch section. The tips of the needles are in the middle of the shawl (mid-row)by the two central contrasting stitch markers made from bright yellow Lego heads. At the top of the image closed captions in white text read; 'The instructions say "Work to two stitches before'.

The video was to explain and show how the two central stitch markers need to be moved before the final heart motif is worked. I’ll be working on the heart motif later on. This is a screen shot from it.

The front page of Nos Da Pattern. Text top left says "Nos Da A baby blanket" with my logo top right. Underneath is a photograph showing a hand knitted rectangular baby blanket in buttercup yellow laid on a grey weighted blanket. A small stuffed hedgehog toy sits on the bottom right corner of the blanket. The blanket has a wide moss stitch border and features four columns of diamonds outlines worked in moss stitch. Under that is the text: "Meaning ‘Goodnight’ in Welsh, Nos Da is a textured baby blanket that will keep a little one cosy and safe all night. Worked in one piece with an integral moss stitch border, the central columns of diamonds add interest for the knitter, and tactile interest for the recipient! The pattern includes both fully written and charted instructions." At the bottom is my copyright statement.

The new pattern is Nos Da and is out on March 14th. It will be available on Payhip, Lovecrafts and Ravelry AND… if you click on the buttons on my website now (on a computer at least, not yet sure if it works on mobiles) – you NOW GET A PAYHIP POP-UP WINDOW!!! This means you can buy a pattern or kit directly without having to leave my website first. So, yes, I upgraded to the ‘Business’ level plan here on my website and there are lots of new things I get to try out! Look:

A screenshot of my Nevern Throw pattern page on the website, with a Payhip pop-up window superimposed.

The world is still a complicated and confusing place and I’m not running any fund-raising efforts or giving a percentage of sales for Ukraine. Why not? Well, simply because my sales aren’t big enough to make it come to anything worthwhile. Instead, I’ve just made a simple donation to the British Red Cross who can get the money to where it needs to go and support those people who need it.

Take care and keep knitting. I’ll see you next week. K x

Tread Softly

Today’s blog post title continues the tradition of using song titles for my posts, but it’s also the opening of the final line of the poem (He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by W B Yeats) that Of Night and Light is named after; “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”. This seems apt today.

Well, this is the first time in three weeks that I’ve actually written my blog post on a Tuesday. The previous two posts were written in advance as I was going to be at Mum’s and I knew I would be busy there.

But today? Today is Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday. It’s also St David’s Day (the patron saint of Wales). I will be making pancakes – vegan sourdough ones if you’re interested, complete with lemon and sugar. They will be the ‘afters’ to a tofu stir-fry.

Much of this morning was spent reviewing how my business was in February and planning the month ahead. I’m ever more grateful for the writing gig I have on the side now (still very much knitting based), as that is bringing in some regular money which is helping and may even fund upgrading my website, enabling me to add a shopping cart at last!

I relaunched Of Night and Light last week, as I now have the publication rights back and I’ve added in a few extra things that weren’t there when the pattern was originally published in Knit Now Issue 134 last October. The yarn I used is Rowan Felted Tweed and I wanted to make it easier for people to substitute a different yarn without them having to buy far too much of particular colours. So the relaunched pattern includes the yarn lengths required for each of the four colours in each of the nine sizes, in both metres and yards, including a 10% buffer (in case of gauge differences).

For example, the original pattern states that, for the silver grey colour (CC3), one 50g ball of Felted Tweed is needed regardless of which size is made, but the yardage used from that ball varies enormously, from 56m for XS to 130m for 5X! If you are substituting a yarn that comes in 25g balls or 100g balls, or even considering using some left-overs from your stash it is useful to know this!

I’ve also taken on board feedback that was given after I asked knitters about another sweater design, and all measurements are now shown in cm and inches and the table below is now included as one of the images on both Payhip and Ravelry so people can tell in advance whether the sizing works for them.

I have also made a commitment to myself to finish my Introduction to Lace Knitting Craftucation course and get it live on the website by the end of April. My hands are still split on the knuckles, but having recorded a short video yesterday on wrap and turn short rows, it was really encouraging to see that they did not look as bad on screen as I feared. It WILL get completed!

Speaking of short rows, our Calon Cariad KAL (which I did the video for) is going well and people are posting their progress on social media which is very exciting to see. There’s continued to be more interaction in the Facebook group too! This is my Calon Cariad with the short row section completed – can you see how the plain section above the lace border is deeper in the middle than at the edges? That’s what short rows can do. (It’s sitting on top of my Nevern Throw).

I think I’m going to have to extend the KAL for a week and rebook the Show & Tell Zoom for March 25th, instead of March 18th. Last month I broke a tooth (a back molar) and when I was given the first date available at the dentist of course I said yes, not realising it was the same day I’d planned to have our end of KAL Zoom. The last thing I want is to be trying to host a Zoom event with my face still numb from the dentist! I don’t think anyone will mind having an extra week.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to write today, as my little corner of the world seems rather insignificant compared to current world events. However, I decided it wouldn’t be helping anyone by not writing a blog post, and it might be an enjoyable distraction for someone.

Hold your loved ones close and keep knitting, and maybe eat a pancake or two. Also, if you can, please consider making a donation to one of the charities working to support Ukrainians.

‘Til next time, Kx

Join In

Just over two years ago I created my Facebook group – Kath Andrews Designs group. I wanted it to be a place where knitters could share their projects, talk about yarn and generally hang out.

The group description reads:

This group is for people to share projects, ideas and top tips or just enjoy pics of other people’s yarn and general loveliness.

This is your group – come in and have a chat!

Following the Ravelry update, which had meant a lot of people (including myself) could no longer spend a lot of time there, It had become particularly important for me to create a space where I could interact with other knitters and see what they were making. Especially when they were knitting my patterns!

One of the great features that Ravelry always had is that knitters upload photos of their projects and by adding the pattern name, it gets added to the list of the projects created from that pattern. As a knitter thinking of starting a particular pattern you can look through pictures and notes from everyone else who has uploaded their progress and thoughts and get ideas about alternative yarns, modifications people have made, issues and solutions. It was brilliant, but after the Ravelry update I have to limit the time I spend on the website, or I will get a migraine. So, as an alternative, a Facebook group seemed like just the ticket.

But new things take time, don’t they? Just because I was ready to have a Facebook group and get chatting with other knitters there, didn’t mean they were ready at the same time! People have responded well to my posts with reactions and comments and the membership of the group has grown slowly but steadily. It is now just over 100. In the world of social media I know that is nothing, but if you think about having 100 actual real people (which of course they are) all part of one group, that’s pretty cool.

And lately, more things are starting to happen. Some members have started to add their own posts, rather than just reply to mine. This is SO exciting! And I have to admit I got a little teary when I first saw one member of the group comment on another member’s post – exactly the kind of interactions I have been wanting people to start having.

Our current knit-along is the perfect opportunity for people to join the group, join in and get more active, if they use Facebook. And if they don’t? Well, the KAL hashtag, #CalonCariadKAL, can be used on Instagram and Twitter as well as Facebook, so I will be able to see it and celebrate progress, as will anyone else following the hashtag.

Why not pop over to Facebook, join the group and join in? We’d love to have you!

A Stitch in Time

I finally finished this cardigan (Manu by Kate Davies) in August 2018.

Before I got to the stage of being able to wear it there were a few false starts – I needed to make it two sizes bigger than I had begun in order for the sleeves to fit (and to fit over the roomy dresses and smocks I love from The Slow Wardrobe) and also it was originally going to be all orange.

However, the skeins of yarn I was using (Shilasdair Luxury DK – now discontinued) are hand-dyed and dyed with natural materials at that (Madder root for the orange) and so, although I thought I had matched the colour of the skeins well when I bought them at Wonderwool in 2017 it turns out they weren’t similar enough. I could have switched between two skeins of orange every other row as is recommended with hand-dyed yarn, but I didn’t. The point at which I was getting going with the second skein was also the point where I realised I was knitting the wrong size. Which meant I didn’t have enough orange yarn anyway. So, I decided to do the recommended striping, but with other colours!

Many who know me will say that I can be quite indecisive at times (and at others, so not!) and so it was that, although I was pretty sure it would work really well with three colours striping through, I couldn’t decide which additional colours to use. I think I bought seven. The others are still waiting patiently in my stash.

I loved the narrow stripes and the way they repeated up the body. Especially the way the short rows at the back of the neck separated the final set of green stripes from the rest of them. It did, however, result in lots of extra ends to weave in!

Rear view of me wearing a recently finished Manu in the garden.

I also discovered that my knitting and purling tensions are not the same. The body is worked flat (knit one row and purl the next) and that was made first, as far as the armholes. I wanted the stripes on the sleeves to line up with those on the body. The sleeves are worked in the round (knit every round), but my stripes were not matching up. Turns out my purl stitches are tighter than my knit ones, so the stripes on the body were ever so slightly narrower than the sleeve stripes. The solution? Rip the sleeves out and try again with a slightly smaller needle. Fortunately that worked, or my whole striping plan would have been out of the window.

You can see that this cardigan took quite a lot of effort to come into being. So, when it started to wear thin under the arms on the body and the sleeves I had to do something about it. I got the spare yarn out and duplicate stitched (sewed over the knitted stitches, recreating them exactly) large patches of the fabric, maintaining the original striping. It took a long time and, again, there were a lot of ends to deal with. But it worked and the reinforced fabric looked brand new again.

The reinforced areas under the arms show up as darker patches when held up to the light.

Unfortunately parts of the reinforced areas are now wearing thin again and I’m not sure if working a third layer of yarn through those stitches will help or damage it further. I noticed this yesterday when I was working on the cuffs.

The whole body of the cardigan and the cuffs are worked in garter stitch edged with i-cord which gives a beautiful piped effect. But it’s not very stretchy, at least not with the yarn I had used (10% baby alpaca, 10% baby camel, 40% angora, 40% merino lambswool) which in itself does not have a lot of elasticity. And I am a sleeve-pusher. I like wearing long sleeved garments, but if I need to wash my hands, make bread etc I push my sleeves halfway up my forearms. I also have a tendency to stroke the edge of my cuffs between the fingers and palm of my right hand. Both of these things had meant the i-cord had taken a bit of a battering and the yarn had snapped and worn out in a few places on the cuffs. A year or so ago I mended them.

A close-up of the ravaged cuff that had previously been repaired just by whipstitching over the frayed edges.

Last week I noticed they were in a state again and this time it was much worse, with patches of knitting that were starting to unravel. Luckily the cuffs were picked up and knitted after the sleeves were complete, so I would be able to re-knit them completely.

But then I thought, why? Why remake the cuffs in the same way they were before when it doesn’t suit how you need your sleeves to function? And so, rather than knit a new garter stitch cuff with i-cord edging I decided to do something different. After all, one of the signs of madness is supposed to be doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, right? This time I would make the cuffs as stretchy as I could.

I cut off the old i-cord and carefully pulled out the garter stitch back to where the stitches where picked up. In several places the yarn was only just holding together still.

The old cuff cut off lying on a wooden desk along with the unpicked remaining yarn looking like instant noodles. In front of this is the sleeve of the cardigan with three double pointed needles picking up the stitches prior to re-knitting the cuff.

I put the picked-up stitches back on the needles and counted them. 42. I was planning to do a two by two rib, so I needed a multiple of 4. I worked the first round adding 2 extra stitches and holding my breath that the original stitches I was working through would hold while I did so. Then I worked another seven rounds and decided it was time to cast off.

I needed as flexible a cast-off as I could find and remembered Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off which I discovered in Knitty years ago. Because it had been so long since I had worked it I had to look it up again, but it proved to be exactly what I needed. Cast-off complete.

One new cuff and one old unrepaired cuff laid on top of each other for comparison, with an open MacBook in the background.

Once I had done the same with the other cuff and woven in the remaining ends, I had a cardigan I could wear again with pride (and much smarter looking cuffs than the old shabby ones).

Now I just have to think about what I will do when the patches under the arms wear through again…

All These Things That I’ve Done

Last week I finished by telling you I had marmalade to make when I got home. And indeed I did. However, the lovely Chris from Hampton Farm Shop had popped in the last few of the Seville oranges in addition to the ones I’d asked for, so rather than 1.4kg (3lb) of oranges, I had 2kg (4.5lb)!!

Marmalade was made on Thursday AND on Friday. It’s rather gorgeous in both colour and taste and I have found a solution to the skin withering tendency of the oranges when squeezing and chopping them – wear gloves! Obvious really, but it’s taken me until now…

This coming Friday sees the launch of our latest KAL – Calon Cariad and I’m really pleased that a number of people will be knitting along with us. The invites to the Cast-on Party on Zoom have started going out and I have got my chosen yarn all balled up; three skeins of CoopKnits Socks Yeah! in Xenon, which is a truly NEON pink.

I’ve also finally done some more embroidery and I *think* I may nearly be done with the black thread.

The spinning is coming on too – the 15 minutes per colour seems to be working well!!

I’m also working on a new pattern that is due for release next month (if you’re in my Facebook group you’ll have seen a sneak peek pic of it!).

I have blocked my Water Dragon Shawl and I love it. I still have the ends to weave in, but apart from that it is done! The top left image is straight after I cast off. The next is whilst blocking and the other two are after blocking.

This month’s pattern (due at the end of the month) is the re-launch of Of Night and Light, the colourwork vest that appeared in Knit Now Issue 134 last October – the rights return to me this month and I will get the pattern formatted into my standard layout and some new photos taken over the next couple of weeks.

But it’s not all been about the new things this week.

Today I have been mending my favourite cardigan (again). It’s three and a half years old and I wear it A LOT. The repairs and re-knits it has had deserve a post all to themselves and that will be what I tell you all about next week.

Have a good one and do stuff that makes you smile. K x

Keep On Keeping On

I have lots of stuff to tell you about, but it’s been quite a day and it’s late, so I will keep it short and show more than tell.

First up, there’s a new pattern in the world! Small Acts is a pattern for a scarf AND a cowl. I even put lippy on for the pics. Click on the link for all the info, including where the name came from.

Next, I’m getting excited about our Calon Cariad KAL – it starts on Feb 11th, which is actually next week!! If you want to get a kit from me or from Yarn O’clock, there’s still time, but you need to choose your yarn quickly! I have a new pic of the Erika Knight sample of Calon Cariad to share with you:

Spring is starting to make its presence felt in the garden:

And I finished my Water Dragon Shawl by Red and the Wolf Designs!! The lace section took longer than expected, partly because I kept working on other things and partly because there were 1121 stitches per row. I added three extra garter stitch rows at the bottom and then cast off. The cast off was very satisfying. A great re-use of a lot of Colinette Jitterbug that had previously been an unworn cabled vest.

I’ll block it when I get home. Thursday is going to be a busy day too – haircut, kit to post, shawl to block AND… marmalade to make!

See you next week 😊 K x

And, breathe…

Last week I finished by promising to tell you about the spinning and baking I’ve been doing, as well as how the workshops went and all about next month’s knit-a-long!

Let’s start with the workshops. It was probably the longest amount of time I had (a) been on my feet and (b) spoken for, in over three and a half years. In other words, since I left the classroom!

Five hours of workshops went SO fast. Not just for me, but also for the lovely knitters who were there. In both the morning and afternoon sessions phrases such as “It’s not that time already, is it?!”, “I’ve never known two and a half hours go so quickly” and “Really? Only 10 minutes left? No!” could be heard. (Of course, because we were all so focused I completely missed the opportunity to take any photographs of their progress. Must do better next time!).

Lots was learnt, including the magic that is mattress stitch as part of the Finishing Techniques workshop. I love seeing the faces of knitters during this process. Most don’t believe they won’t be able to see the lime green yarn they are seaming their grey squares with, and when it proves to be true, it’s just a delight. Also we unpicked why different types of decrease are used and the importance of mirrored decreases to make your project look balanced.

The Introduction to Sock Knitting in the afternoon went even faster than I had anticipated, and everyone turned a heel successfully. I had an email yesterday from one of the attendees that made me so happy and I’m going to share part of it with you (with her permission):

“Thanks a million for all your guidance on Saturday. Just learning to knit on 4 needles was great, but to become a wool engineer apprentice and turn a heel was brilliant!”


We didn’t manage to get the graft done at the toe, however, so I promised to record a video showing how this is done and I have now uploaded this to my social media platforms. I wanted to get this up as soon as I could for my workshop attendees, but now I also need to add closed captions to the video.

This is the third little techniques video I have recorded and put on Facebook etc and this morning it occurred to me that they should really be on my website too. So, the Knitting Tuition page now has a new section: Free Video Tutorials! I’ll get the captions done on the toe graft video before uploading that one, but there are two others you can have a look at already. It will give you a little flavour of my Craftucation courses as well (though none of the videos are duplicated from there).

Another addition to the website today is a section for next month’s Knit-A-Long! We are knitting Calon Cariad together, a lovely shawl whose name means ‘The Heart of Love’. We begin on February 11th with a Cast-On Party on Zoom at 7pm!! We’ll run the KAL over five weeks and there will be prizes 🎁. If you want to join in, the click ‘going’ on the KAL event and/or the KAL Cast-on Party event on my Facebook page, or just send me a message! All the details are here.

There are even kits available – I’m especially fond of the Erika Knight Wool Local which knits up beautifully in this pattern.

In other news, I have finished the scarf sample for Small Acts and that just needs blocking and photographing properly. I’m aiming to get the pattern out by the weekend. If you’re a subscriber look out for an extra (short) email with a discount code!

A large mid-indigo blue scarf lies in a heap on an oatmeal coloured carpet. There are two large mirrored cables running up the centre, flanked by two small mirrored cables at the sides. In between the cables are columns of moss stitch and the scarf has a narrow garter stitch edging.

Spinning is fun at the moment and I have starting on my second batch of Colours of Cambria fibre (this colour way is ‘Coast’). I wanted to create fairly regular repeats of the colours but I am not confident at judging the quantity when dividing the fibre into sections, so I came up with another approach. I set a timer on my phone for 15 minutes. I spin one colour from the sequence during that time and when the timer goes off, I stop and break that colour, ready to start with the next one when I spin again. Not only is this hopefully going to give me some good stripes/blocks of colour in the yarn, it also encourages me to spin more on a daily basis, even when I am busy, as 15 minutes can usually be slotted in somewhere!

An overhead shot of a bobbin on the spinning wheel. There is some soft green fibre at the bottom of the image waiting to be spun next. On the bobbin can be seen two shades of blue, a golden yellow and a little of the green. The yarn is spun quite finely.

I made the sourdough bagels that I have been wanting to try for a while. They weren’t as hard as I had anticipated, but I do think I over-baked them a little. It was a good taste, and nicely chewy, but a little too crunchy/firm on the outside. Next time, check five minutes sooner!

We even managed to squeeze in a visit to the Little Orme where we saw the largest group of Seals I’ve ever seen there. They looked so happy and relaxed on the beach and were chatting away to each other quite a lot! It made us relax too, and even though there were quite a few people up there on Sunday (some even had telephoto lenses and tripods for their cameras, so the word about the seals must have got about), it was really peaceful. We sat on a bench and ate a little homemade picnic, all wrapped up against the wind and it was lovely. The perfect balance to the ‘business’ of the day before.

A pebble beach covered with 30-40 seals as well as some larger stones and big rocks. Seen from the cliff edge above with a bit of the sea-glass coloured sea visible on the right and the cliff wall on the far side of beach showing at the top of the picture.

Take care, stay warm and do more of what makes you happy, K x

%d bloggers like this: