Tuesday, November 10, 2015

New Pattern release: Torc Scarf

Introducing the Torc Scarf. 
The scarf begins with a gently curving garter stitch section, cast on along the top edge and shaped with short rows. The applied 12x12 stitch reversible cable edging is a reinterpretation of golden torcs on display in the National Museum of Ireland, and included in the book A History of Ireland in 100 Objects.  I've been a little obsessed with the notion of taking inspiration from extraordinary artefacts - high status, highly ornate displays of wealth, that we assume were just for occasional or ceremonial wear - and creating cosy, comforting & wearable accessories for every day use. 
This scarf is very, very soft & squishy; definitely one of my cosier knits. It is also reversible. 

The pattern is written in two sizes:
The small size measures 140 x 21cm / 55x8" at the widest point, and requires approximately 400 m / 437 yards of DK weight yarn.   It wraps around the neck once with ends to tuck into coats. It is pictured in Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in 'Wish'. 
The large size measures 206 x 21.5 cm at the widest point & requires approximately 610m / 667 yards. Pictured in Dublin Dye Merino DK in 'Alge', it will wrap around the neck twice, with ends to tuck in. 

A solid or semi-solid yarn works best with the pattern; preferably something bouncy to show off the cables, & with a little elasticity.  The wide cable can be tricky to work, especially in stiff yarns like cotton. 
The pattern is available to purchase now. (The obligatory goofy photos are without charge)

 I'm very grateful to the kind assistance & generous feedback of my test knitters Janet & Sherry. I've been amazed by how generous people can be, if you just ask for a little help.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dye experiments

I've been drawn to the idea of dying my own gradient yarns for a while, but was put off by imagined  lengthy & complicated dye sessions involving multiple of re-windings and dye baths. I recently dragged out the dyepot, inspired by this blog post & gave it a whirl. I wound my yarn blanks into very tight little balls, & placed them dry into the dye bath, using Ashford's purple dye. 

Two things that are immediately obvious: the 'purple' is really more a deep pink; and winding into a very tight little ball does not really give a gradient effect. More a graduated speckle on just a little bit of the yarn. The yarn is far too tight & too effective a resist for the dye to soak into the ball. 

I'm happy enough with the results though, especially after re-skeining & over-dyeing the yarn with complementary colours. 
These three mini-skeins became pink, & are intended for a jumper for the Small Human. 

And I added a mixture of blue & purple to this one (I've no idea what this will become).

Amazingly, these skeins perfectly match some sweet peas from my garden.

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Pattern; Camden Twist Cardigan

Introducing Camden Twist Cardigan! It is written in 6 sizes from 0-3 months to 2 years. It is sized with approximately 2.5 - 5 cm positive ease. It is worked from the top down, with raglan shaping. It features a simple cable design along the front & back of the cardigan. The button & button hole bands are knitted on after. 

The pattern is shown in Townhouse Yarns Camden Tweed in 'Too Rouge' colour way, in the 2 year size. I really enjoyed using this yarn. It is surprisingly soft & springy to knit (compared with how it feels in the skein). The 'Too Rouge' colour way has a wonderful depth & strength of colour typical of Townhouse Yarns.

Sizes: 0-3, 3-6, 6-12, 12-18, 18-24 months, 2 years.
Yarn requirements: approximately (100, 110, 120, 130, 140, 150)g 4 ply / fingering weight yarn.
Gauge: 28 st per 10 cm / 4'' in stocking stitch

Materials: 2.5 mm needle or size needed to achieve gauge. The pattern can be knit with a long circular needle - using magic loop for the sleeves - or with a combination of straight needles for the body & DPNs for the sleeves. 
Small cable needle or DPN for working cable. 
Darning Needle
Optional sewing needle & thread for adding buttons. 
(6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9) small buttons, approximately 1cm diameter, or as many as you wish. 
Stitch markers
The pattern is available to download for free here:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finished Knit: Zapote

I've just finished a new hoodie for the Small Human. The pattern is Zapote from Carol Feller's book Short Row Knits , & the yarn is Malabrigo Rios in Ravelry Red, from This is Knit.  The buttons are from fairly recent stash, probably bought in Hickey's. 

I **LOVE** this garment. It is worked from the top town, using short rows to shape the garter stitch hood. The garment features raglan increases at the shoulders, and slipped-stitch i-cord edging along the front.
The garter stitch cuffs can be folded back to allow the all-important growing room. The increases along the sides of the body allow room for nappy bulk in smaller sizes, or for dresses. The garter stitch pockets are perfect for stashing Important Things like pine cones found on walks. The pattern is graded from 6 months to 10 years.

This is the second time I've knit this pattern; I was lucky enough to knit one of the samples that appears in the book, & was itching to knit it again (In Fyberspates Vivacious DK). It really is a lovely pattern. I just wish it came in adult sizes too.... ;)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Finished Knits: Bumble Hats

I've some finished knits to show off! 3 hats for 3 siblings, all are modified versions of TinCanKnits' wonderful pattern Bumble, knit in Debbie Bliss Rialto DK. With all 3 hats, I added extra length and worked the crown decreases over fewer rows. I knit the two-row stripes version, one each of the baby, toddler and child sizes (pictured right to left). 

The slipped-stitch fabric is very stretchy, which means it should fit little growing heads for a while. This also means that my obliging model could fit all 3 on her head for a photo!

I left off the pom-poms because the added weight tends pull a hat off the child's head; I didn't have a chance to check fit on the children these hats are intended for before handing over these knitted gifts.   I intend to make another version for my own small human with the pom-pom included, as (obviously) I will be able to check that the hat is snug-fitting enough to stay in place with the pom-pom.

I really enjoy browsing TinCanKnits' patterns; most are graded from baby to adult sizes (matching sets for all the family!!) The few patterns I've knit so far have been very clearly written, and the finished knits are just dotey. Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Finished Knits round-up

I have been knitting away, but have failed to share any finished objects lately. 

First up, a pair of Ysolda Teague's Wee Envelopes, knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in Clotted Cream. The buttons are from stash. I think the darker ones were reclaimed from a pair of combat trousers. The finished garment is very sweet. I find squooshy garter stitch really pleasing for baby knits for its comfort & stretchiness. The pattern is very well written, with an interesting construction, & required just a little attention for the sleeves & yoke. The body section just flies off the needles. These almost matching jumpers will be making their way to two cousins' new babies. The cousins used to dress in matching outfits back in the day!

This hat is based on Woolly Wormheads IGBeanie & is knit using some handspun yarn. (Toddler's choice, it has sparkles - aka angelina!) I changed most of the hat to stocking stitch to try make the most of limited handspun, but this means the hat is not quite as stretchy & flexible as in the original garter stitch design, so I  doubt it will get more than one years' wear. The Small Human is delighted with her little pointed hat ears though! 
Actually knitting up some handspun really shows off my bad spinning habits. I seem to consistently misjudge the thickness/weight of my handspun yarn, and some sections are badly over twisted. I suppose the main lesson here is that I need to actually knit up some handspun more often!

Last up, Cool Kid Hooded Hat by Anna & Heidi Pickles, in Malabrigo Mecha. This wee design is *genius* but the pattern writing could be improved upon. I attempted to reverse engineer the pattern to knit it top-down (and make the most of the yarn) but my addled brain would not, could not cooperate. This is in the 2-4 year size, & is intended for a toddler who refuses to keep hats on (unlike my little model who loves dressing up in knits).
Next knitting; swatches. Lots & lots of swatches.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sculpture in Context 2015

It's Autumn!! Which means;
Leaves are turning.
The weather is getting colder - knitter season!
Sculpture in Context is on display in the Botanic Gardens. 
We had a little wander on a recent sunny morning. Here are some of the pieces that really caught our attention.
Another Place by Tara Butler Frey

It Tolls for Thee by Niamh & Brian Synnott 
This was our favourite piece. It's really lovely to see something truly interactive in a public setting. 

Flotsam & Jetsam by Verona Stellet

Stalkers in the Midst by Orla Kaminska

Bird Song by Michelle Hannan

Zonitoides Nitidus by Michael C. Keane
The Small Human is fascinated, if a little intimated by this piece. It's huge (for a snail).

Untitled by Genevieve Kiely
The only yarn I spotted in this year's exhibition ... fun fur. It looks effective hanging  in a glass house though!

Hare Bells, Pond Life & A Nursery for Dandelions by Thomas Wollen

Snail Boy by Barra Cassidy

Gardeners Delight by Alan Boyle
This is just a small section of the whole piece. There was something really pleasing about the shapes & colours of these tiles. I would love to embroider something inspired by this. 

Sculpture in Context is on display until 16th October in Dublin's Botanic Gardens.