How is your knitting season going? I hear that mid-January is considered the most depressing time of the year. Do you find that to be the case? For me, once I have had a tiny tantrum about Christmas being over, really over, I get excited about the New Year and new resolutions and plans and fresh starts, etc. I had the launch of my Craftsy machine knitting class to keep me on my toes, and the pleasure of seeing the latest publication from the Edinburgh Yarn Fest ladies, so I didn’t feel the blues.
You may have seen the previews for Wool Tribe 2017 are up and the magazine is available for pre-order now!
I am really pleased to be able to offer you a whopping 50% discount on the purchase of the class! Just follow the link above or go to my website for more information and a link for 25% off any other Craftsy class you may like to take!
In Machine Knitting; Sweater Basics, you will learn everything you need to know to knit a sweater on the machine: from basic machine maintenance, how to cast on, making fabric you love, to seaming, blocking and everything in between. The class includes my Sweater Blank–a worksheet that will lead you through making your sweater in any gauge or fabric you want and making it easy to customize. I will post more about the Sweater Blank later, but I have to say I am pretty pleased about it and I hope you will be too.
Although it was excruciating for me to watch this the first time, here is the trailer, for your amusement!
Welcome to 2017! How’s it treating you so far? I am off to a flying start. I have made lists by the shed-load and the post-it notes have proliferated, but I am happy with that. This feeling is probably something to do with having had a good, lazy holiday break with lots of movie-watching and naps. I did have a tiny tantrum yesterday just before I accepted that Christmas was really over and Ben really was going to go back to work and I had to get up at 6am AGAIN!?>! but then I set the alarm and got on with it.
Which brings me to the first order of service for the new year: last year’s EastLondonKnit knit-along. It is officially over, but just in case you have knit an EastLondonKnit design and would like a chance to win one of the fabulous prize packages…
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If you would like to win of these lovely packages, please post your finished EastLondonKnit project over on the thread in the ELK Ravelry group. I will choose 2 prize winners at the end of this week.
So, let’s talk about resolutions!
If you know me, you know that I love a New Year’s Resolution. Honestly, I am not restricted to New Years to make my resolutions–I make them regularly throughout the year with unnecessary zeal, but I have a real soft spot for the beginning of January. This year, in addition to the usual promises to self: more exercise, less sugar, no booze this January, I also wanted to add some different things: find somewhere to regularly volunteer, don’t be angry about the world, do things to make it better, and something completely unrelated: learn to play the guitar, because, well, why not?
I know that I should have started with the musical things a lifetime ago, but I’m one of those people who thinks it is never too late. If I start now, in 10 years I might be pretty good. If I don’t start now, in 10 years, I’ll just be 10 years older and still not playing any instruments.
And until I figure out where to volunteer (suggestions welcome!!), I am going to knit some hats and things for KnitAid. If you haven’t heard of KnitAid, please do have a look. They are making a big collection on 20th January if you would like to participate too!!
November is flying by! You know that thing, where you are waiting for a bus forever and then 3 come at once? I feel like that is my knitting life right now and after a slow start I now have ALL the projects on the go, including several hand knit designs and a very special machine knitting project with Craftsy (!) that I am dying to tell you more about, but it will have to wait.
Last month I had an amazing opportunity. Natasha of Taking a Moment in Time invited me to join a retreat in Romania as a knitting tutor. I jumped at the chance and it was a superlative trip. Words don’t really do it justice, so I will just show you a small part of what made the trip so special.
My photos in no way do justice to the beauty of the experience. Many thanks to Natasha for the invitation and for organising such a wonderful week.
In addition to other exciting things, I am looking forward to sharing a new sweater pattern, designed for Natasha’s gorgeous new Hill Farm Yarn at the end of the year.
I think one of the challenges of working a set-in sleeve is that it isn’t obvious what is going on as it’s being worked, and one of the challenges of explaining the set-in sleeve is that the work is no longer flat, but 3-D, making the illustrating of the technique also less than obvious. Today I’ll attempt it anyway.
For a Zen Variations sweater, the Front and Back have been worked separately and then the body has been worked in the round, with stitches added on at the underarm (12). This leaves us with an empty armhole to fill with a sleeve as follows:
13. Pick up Sleeve sts from around the armhole.
14. Knit across the flat of the sleeve head (A), and work the sleeve head with short rows: working back and forth between sides B and C; W&T each st along the armhole sides until the sts cast on for the underarm (12) are reached. Then work sleeve in the round to cuff.
What is more beautiful than a clear and crisp day of Autumnal sunshine? A day like today makes me wonder why I don’t own a single Aran or Guernsey sweater, as they have suddenly sprung up everywhere, like beautiful ecru wild flowers. So I am resisting the urge to cast on, even though I really, really want to. I think I have to finish at least 2 sweaters before I am allowed to cast on anything else. That is, certainly, the reasonable thing to do…
I started this Enso sweater at the beginning of September for the Zen Variations knit along, and I am onto the sleeves now. The end is in sight!
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I’m knitting the sleeves with the 2-at-a-time magic loop method, which is really my method of choice. I was convinced that I wanted to knit them with double-pointed needles, but when I tried it, I felt like a had no patience for constantly shifting the needles around. Maybe one of these days I will try Karen Templer’s method of knitting them flat, but for now, round and round I go!
How is your Slow Fashion October going? I am working on some more posts about it and really enjoying the conversation on Instagram and the Fringe Association blog. What do you think?
Autumn is here!! Whoop!! Bring on the sweaters and cast on ALL THE THINGS!
This is my mantra and I am practicing what I preach by having 4 sweaters on the needles at the moment. My monogamous knitting is, apparently, a thing of the past. I’m not sorry! It’s great to have the option of knitting on different projects and not worrying about running out of knitting, or sweaters for that matter. I’m probably not the only one who constantly thinks the next sweater is going to be the perfect sweater of dreams.
If your dream sweater is a top-down, seamless construction like those of the Zen Variations, then let’s talk construction! A post published few weeks ago, I discussed beginning a Zen sweater with the back. Today we are carrying on, working the fronts to the same point.
After knitting the back to the underarms, work the fronts individually:
7. Pick up stitches for the Left Front along the Left Shoulder.
8. Work straight for the length of the flat at the top of the sleeve head (see A below).
9. Begin Left Neck increases: this will be a different instruction for every sweater (+).
10. Work Left Front Underarm increases (+).
11. Put the Left Front sts on waste yarn and work the Right Front in the mirror image.
It should be starting to look like the top of a sweater now!
If you are interested in learning more about the process of knitting top-down seamless sweaters, please do join me you can join me at one of the Zen and the Art of Sweater construction classes coming up: