Monday, 16 December 2013

Everyone needs snowballing mittens for Christmas

Today I am delighted to tell you that I have been invited to launch a brand new free mitten pattern over on my friend Rachel's lovely blog My Life in Knitwear where you can also see a photo of me with an inflatable Santa!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A Round of Applause

Last week I taught the last session of another set of beginners' classes. This is where I ask students to go away and find a pattern that they would like to knit, using the skills that they have just learnt. One of my students showed me the set of beginners' patterns and tutorials published by Tin Can Knits. Why have I not found these before?

There is a scarf, a blanket, a cowl, mittens, socks and a jumper, all worked in worsted weight yarn and designed to introduce new skills in an incremental way. They have been generously published free of charge with teachers invited to use them with students. 

Of course, I had to dash off and cast on one of these projects, just to see how they worked. I chose Maize, the mitten pattern.

I decided that a simple pattern presented an ideal opportunity to use a skein of my hand spun yarn and chose this merino and silk yarn, spun from a braid by Hilltopcloud. The pattern was very easy to follow  with enough individual design touches to make it attractive to knit. If this pattern is a good representative of the collection I can thoroughly recommend them to new knitters and experienced knitters looking for a quick and simple project alike.

It only took me a matter of hours to knit up these mittens so it is a great project for anyone who wants a pair of cosy mittens in a hurry.

The stitch pattern adds interest but is understated enough for it to be an ideal pattern for hand spun yarn with a bit of ...ahem...texture.

Working on this simple project inspired me to embark on a small mitten project of my own. I'll keep you posted!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Close Knit

One of the pleasures and pitfalls of working in a beautiful knitting shop is the opportunity to see all the lovely new things out there to tempt knitters. Right now we have all fallen in love with these Alpaca fur pompoms from Toft Alpacas so this little grey cloud had to come home with me. 

I'm not sure that it quite fits in with my personal style but I know someone for whom it would be absolutely perfect - my twelve year old niece. Next step was to find a suitable pattern.

On my bookshelves I have a huge collection of back numbers of Interweave Knits, going back many years. For me, and many other knitters this publication has in the past been the most eagerly anticipated source of the best of knitting patterns but recently, maybe because now there is such a huge increase in the resources that are available online and from independent designers it has rather gone under my radar and I haven't renewed my subscription for a couple of years. However, a quick flick through the latest copy revealed the perfect pattern, - the Cote - Nord cap by Amy Cristoffers. Using a skein of the always reliable Cascade 220 it was a quick and enjoyable knit . There also seem to be a number of very knittable patterns in this issue so I shall make sure that I don't forget about it again!

I never plan Christmas knitting as I don't enjoy the pressure of deadline knitting but this will make a perfect stocking filler.

As a family we all love making things and often give each other things that we have made as presents. As we don't get to see each other every day they are a real tangible reminder that someone cares enough about you to take the time to sit and make something for you and when you see it they are recalled to your mind and form part of the fabric of daily life. My sister often makes me laugh by telling me about the random conversations that happen in her household in which I make an appearance. For example:

N: Mum, have you ever cried in an advert?
S: No, I don't think so.
N:I bet Aunty Jane has.

Embarrassingly she is right.