Yay! It’s publication time again! Specifically, Knit Now Issue 10 has hit the shops and in it you’ll find my latest published design- Spirograph. You might recognise it from my profile pic, as I’ve been wearing the original version since early Spring- this was definitely a design sprung from necessity, as I wear my hair up most of the time, but also feel the cold. Something between a ‘topless hat’ and a ballet dancer’s hair band seemed like the answer- I like to channel my inner Anna Pavlova when I wear it anyway!
If you have long hair that you usually wear in a ponytail or topknot you’ll appreciate the thinking behind this headband. You get all the advantages of a hat, but you can still wear your hair up. Made in a summery wool cotton mix, it works well for activities like running hiking or dance classes, but if you prefer a more laid back summer, think “campfire ear warmer”, “unwashed-festival-hair-warmer” and “sitting outside with a drink just a little longer”.
Knit in the round, the stitches used to create the pattern are easily accessible for a beginner, while more experienced knitters will love how quickly you can complete this project. The version pictured at the top of this post is made using Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, which is a gorgeous summery yarn available from the lovely Ellie at Magpie Yarns. My original version, which incidentally has a few extra rows of depth than the Knit Now version, was made using Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend, an equally gorgeous yarn I originally bought as an ‘inspiration’ skein.
Speaking of which, my next post should be about inspiration skeins aplenty- my Woolfest 2012 story.
I’m a wee bit late with this one, my only excuse being that, with two children’s birthdays, it’s been a busy month! Issue 9 of Knit Now magazine has been in the shops for a few weeks now and, self promotion aside, it’s well worth a look. The theme is ‘Best of British’ , given that this year is a celebration year, with the Jubilee and the London Olympics. What this means for the issue is that all the designers are British (Hoorah! Not that we don’t love the international world of knitting designers under normal circumstances) and all the yarns featured in the designs are produced right here in the UK.
My contribution to the collection are these Perambulator Mitts. The yarn I used was Erika Knight’s Vintage Wool, which comes in some lovely muted tones that work beautifully together. It’s a springy, aran weight, plied pure wool which creates a soft, well defined fabric. I used one skein each of Leighton- the green- and Flax- the natural colour to make these, using a smaller than usual needle to make them denser and more robust- I’ll explain why next…
So, the thinking behind these was that I ask quite a lot of a pair of gloves. With two active young children, I need them to keep my hands warm when I’m out pushing the buggy, especially on walks in the Lakes. But at the same time, I need my fingers free to do up coat buttons, peel bananas for members of the party too small to manage that themselves and extract wipes to clean up afterwards. Other times I’m carrying bags full of books or food shopping and what I really want is a bit of extra protection on my palms to stop them getting chafed by the handles.
My solution is a pair of gloves made using needles that are small for the yarn and with colourwork to produce a thick, cosy, hardwearing fabric to cushion and protect your hands, but leave the fingertips and thumbs free for when dexterity is needed. For extra warmth when the backs of your hands need it, there is an extra flap of basket stitch, secured in place with a loop around the thumb and a button.
This idea was taken from cycling gloves, which often have extra padding for warmth on the backs. If, on the other hand (no pun intended!) it’s your palms that need protection, you simply undo the button, unhook the loop and flip the flap onto the palm of the hand, securing it in the same way.
The images shown on the left are of the prototype I made, which is why they are a wee bit scruffy, but I hope they give an idea of how the mitts work. Hardworking mittens for hardworking hands- if you use your hands to create lovely things, don’t you think you deserve some?!
The next issue of Knit Now will be in the shops on 28th June, but if you hurry you might just find a copy of this issue on the shelves still. If not, back issues are often available via their website . The design will also be available as an individual pattern in my Ravelry Shop later this year.
When I get the chance, I love to rummage in charity shops. Having two small children in tow is not ideal for this, so whenever we take the littles to see one or other set of grandparents I take full advantage of the opportunity to enjoy unencumbered browsing time. Fortunately, both my parents and my parents in law live in or near to towns which are ripe for my sort of second-hand hunting, as the population is elderly and fairly well-off. This tends to lead to good quality retro heaven.
My best finds while at my folks recently have been a barely worn winter coat and a number of lovely old knitting patterns. The latter often serve as inspiration, one way or another, for my designs, whether it’s an interesting stitch pattern or an old-fashioned style that I think is due for a revival.
This weekend it was a pop-up Macmillan shop that proved fruitful for knit-related goodies. However, rather than patterns, I found this fabulous workbasket. It’s a simple, foldable wooden frame covered in a groovy graphic print. It’s definitely got a ‘worn in’ look, but it still seems pretty sturdy and has useful pockets inside too.
I will continue to harbour the sweet illusion that the acquisition of this piece will mean I have just one or two projects stored neatly next to the sofa, where I will sit serenely working away with my children at my feet. In reality of course, I have multiple projects, needles, odd balls, patterns, yarn shop receipts and so on stuffed into a collection of baskets, bags and plastic mailing envelopes which form an unruly pile in the corner of our living room. Every now and again the children’s obedience regarding ‘not touching Mummy’s knitting’ breaks down and they dive in, searching for sharp things to wave around at eye level or hard-to-untangle yarn to wrap around chair legs and each other. I waste valuable knitting time rummaging around for stitch markers, the other needle or a tape measure. Sorting out my craft stuff is on my ever-growing list of summer holiday projects…we will see whether that ever progresses from being a work in progress.