Thursday, August 11, 2016

Supplejack

Wow am I behind on posting about my latest designs. (I blame my fascination with Instragram)

Let me introduce Supplejack.



My idea for Supplejack was to design an asymmetrical triangle that traces the developing skills of the knitter. Stripes of squishy garter stitch begins the piece. This is interspersed with blocks of bold colour until you reach the first simple lace section – eyelets edged with garter stitch. More colourful stripes ensue as you work your way down the shawl, encountering small cable twists, a lifted stitch technique and finally move on to the lace sections worked over a stocking stitch background. The piece ends with an elaborate cable-lace border edged with pretty picots. When worn the more elaborate cable-lace section rests alongside the initial garter stripe section in a pleasing contrast of your knitterly skills.



As you can see, it's quite big - great for winding around one's neck in this chilly weather!
I knit mine in three shades of Dark Harbour Yarn: Starboard (fingering weight), in the colours, Nudibranch, Svalbard and Horace. Starboard contains 20% silk, and as a single ply yarn the motifs really pop with the silken sheen.

Ravelry Link to the pattern. Check out other colour combinations that people have used. In fact one of my testers knit hers in a single colour of laceweight rayon, and added beads. It's gorgeous!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Still Alive!

Yikes! I feel like it's been ages since I've had a new design off the needles, and maybe it has. This damnable tennis elbow that comes and goes keeps me from doing lots of knitting, but I have actually been producing things.
This wee pile of yarn has the most immediate plans.



That represents 3 shawls. Two have already been knit and are awaiting me to knit them again in thicker/more suitable yarn - lying there unknit on the table. And one I have already started knitting.


This is a departure for me in many ways. A singles yarn (rather than multiple plied singles), an asymmetrical shape, and garter stitch. I may have said rude things about garter stitch (and singles yarn) in the past, but I take it all back. To be fair, there's only a little bit of garter stitch, which will be interspersed with a whole lot of lace. I can't show you much because I'm so slooooooow.

The singles yarn is delightful and represents a departure for me because in the past I've found that it self-destructs too easily - and pilly, fuzzy yarns REALLY annoy me. But I think this one will be absolutely fine for a shawl. The yarn is Dark Harbour Yarn, and mine contains 30% silk for a wonderful shine. The dyer Nikki told me something i have been wondering about but didn't actually 'know' - a singles yarn shines like it does because there is no ply shadow (the silk also shines). In plied yarns each of the plies creates a shadow and affects the way the light reflects off it. I'm really enjoying knitting with it and I can't wait until I get to the bit where I can start some lace!
I don't really like posting images of designs until I'm sure they're actually going to work, but I really feel that if it weren't for this elbow thing i would have had it and the other two finished by now!

Here's a photo of my daughter when she was about 4 years old. This is a photo she took on my phone the other day - a photo of a photo. I remember she was SO delighted to be wearing her Grandma's fancy shawl (circa 1970). Crocheted in Grandma's own handspun yarn.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Minarets and lace KAL

If you fancy knitting Minarets and Lace with like-minded folk, why not join the Knit-Along running in my Ravelry group - Lace Eater Designs.


Minarets and Lace is my most popular design. Maybe it's those double arches, maybe it's all the nupps. Take a look at the thread in my Ravelry group to see some of the stunning modifications that other people have made, like this gorgeous one by KCCknitntiggy that features a picot border.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lotus Pond

Meet my latest design: Lotus Pond






My fascination with knitted lace and depicting flora and fauna continues in this top down shawl. Motifs include moths (or are they flies!) pansies, lotus flowers and a decorative edging depicting a trefoil. Yes, there are a nupps - but just a few, and to be honest, if you're not inclined nupp-wise, they can easily be swapped out with beads. I think beads would be quite fitting - like water droplets on a lotus flower.
In this pattern I use a Japanese stitch pattern called the Three Stitch Lift, which I have modified to suit my purposes. While the pattern notes describe how this stitch works I thought it might help to talk about it and show you what's going on. So here goes ...

I originally found this stitch in the book, "Knitted Socks East and West", Basically what you do when you work this stitch is work some loops through the middle of your knitting by knitting through the centre of the stitch 3 rows down from the next stitch on you LH needle. I think it takes a little bit of mind bending for some people to get this idea - you actually poke your RH needle right through the knitted fabric - through the centre of the stitch 3 rows down from the next st on the LH needle. You then draw through a loop of working yarn, work a yarn over, and draw another loop through the same place in the knitting once more. You have effectively made 3 new stitches. You then drop the very next stitch on the LH needle. (the one in the column directly above where you have knitted through the fabric. It will only ladder down to the anchor point you have just made with your 3 new stitches. These laddered stitches form pleasing horizontal lines. Try not to make the 3 loops too tight, or the loops they make will not be elongated. In the book I found, these extra stitches (actually only 2 in total, because you drop a stitch) are removed by a centered double decrease on the next RS row, but because I wanted to use this stitch as a way of making increases most of the time, I only included the decreasing row of the stitch pattern in Chart A.

This is what it looks like when you are working the stitch. (note: I have not included the yarn overs and decreases as they appear in the first chart)
(click on the photos if you wish to make them larger)


Through the centre of the stitch - draw through a loop. 1 stitch made


view from above

Below: One loop pulled through


Below: Having already made one loop, work a yarn over, and work step one again. Three loops made. Then drop the next stitch on the needle (already dropped in the photo). You know have only two extra loops/stitches.



Row finished. You will see those three laddered horizontal loops are captured by the stitches you have just made.

 I purled back so you an see what it looks like


If you make a mistake and need to undo a row just leave those three loops on your left needle as you tink, and then make the 3 loops as described when you get to them. (see last photo)




In the pattern I include a variation of this stitch called the 5 Stitch Lift, which results in 5 loops (but 4 extra increases when completed). This is achieved simply by working an additional yarn over and pulling a third loop through the knitting (so 2 yarn overs and 3 loops pulled through the knitting) before letting the next stitch on the LH needle ladder down.

Please note that The 3 and 5 Stitch Lift, are not in any way related to the Lifted Increase used in the stocking stitch section of the shawl even though they share the word "lift". When working a lifted increase you simply lift the right leg of the next stitch onto the needle and knit it (to make a stitch). With the 3 and 5 Stitch Lift you actually knit through the fabric of your knitting.

If you'd like to watch a video of someone working this stitch, click on this link.
It's not in English, but it doesn't matter in the slightest - it demonstrates very well what is going on when working this stitch, and is especially clear on the garter stitch background. Note, she finishes the stitch pattern off with the centred double decrease on a following row.

Try it - it's fun!

Friday, January 22, 2016

High Country Crescent

One of my favourite places is the High Country of the South Island (of NZ), and I've always wanted to design a shawl that reflects its stark beauty. High Country Crescent is my first attempt to do that (as I rather think there are many more knitting motifs to be found in that stunning landscape).

Parched, stony, vast and rugged, this harsh land is connected from the mountains to the sea by a network of sprawling braided rivers, and unassuming plants. This shawl, High Country Crescent, is my homage to that harsh, desolate and beautiful landscape – a landscape that inspires and yet dwarfs the human spirit. Lace and cable stitches create knitted motifs representing braided rivers and tussock flowing to the estuary where High Country river meets the Pacific Ocean

I designed this shawl some time ago, but I really wanted to get photos of it in the actual High Country before I released it on Ravelry. Our summer holidays were the perfect time, and on New Years day we made our way to the headwaters of Lake Tekapo. I know there's snow in the background, but it was hot! (click on the photos to enlarge them, so you can see the detail).







This one was taken at Otira gorge - more Alpine than High Country, but stunning nonetheless and another glorious warm day.


and finally a close up.

I knit mine in Zealana Kiwi Laceweight (colour; Sunset), but any laceweight will do so long as it's not superfine. A 3 ply or light fingering would substitute well too, as Zealana Kiwi is quite a chubby yarn.
It's available in two sizes and requires 600 - 686 metres of yarn. For more information and other examples check out my Ravelry store.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Biophilia

If you follow me on Ravelry  or Instagram you might know that Biophilia has been in the pipeline for a while.
 

 I started off wanting to work with an adapted 'pod' pattern someone in my spinning guild had found and used spectacularly in a baby blanket. Alas, the pods didn't really work in with anything else, and I had to omit them. For such a simple looking pattern, this is probably the one I have toiled on the most. But it's a sweetie - I love how the seaweed like pattern fans out at the edge, and ends with a few beads at the edge, and dripping off the picot points, as if it were recently plucked from the ocean depths.

The yarn is Vintage Purls sock - in the colour Songs of the Sea. Isn't it gorgeous!
You will need approx 495 metres of yarn and 245 size 6 seed beads.

I must backtrack a little. Biophilia is a free pattern available on Ravelry, and part of KiwiYarns Sustain the Sea collection. Biophilia is a term used to describe a hypothetically innate human tendency to feel an emotional attachment to the natural world. The idea that human wellbeing is utterly dependent upon our positive interactions with the natural world and its biological diversity makes conservation of the planet’s ecological systems imperative. This decades old theory is even more relevant today as we continue to transform the planet in our quest for perpetual economic growth. Regardless of whether the tendency for biophilia exists or not, human dependence upon the natural world and its complex ecosystems is a fundamental truth, and yet we continue to plunder the Earth’s resources, and foul the waterways and seas.

But it's a free pattern with a twist, and I have a lot more to say about it - go have a look on Ravelry!






Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Lace Eater Shawl

The Lace Eater Shawl KAL starts on September the 1st!
Have you got your yarn ready?


The Lace Eater came from a desire to depict the all-consuming passion that lace knitting inspires in those of us addicted to lace knitting. 
Cables twist and turn as they move across the surface of the knitted fabric - undulating - consuming the lace … like an infection.
The Lace Eater, an elongated triangular crescent shawl, will challenge lace lovers. You will be required to work from multiple charts, to work increases and decreases on RS and WS rows. Nupps and gathered stitches give texture to the fabric, while cables consume lace motifs as they advance across the fabric.
Rippling with cables and lace, wrap the The Lace Eater shawl about your shoulders and celebrate your lace addiction!
Succumb to your lace addiction - join us for the Lace Eater KAL(when the pattern becomes available for download September 1st), in my Ravelry Group: Lace Eater Designs, and knit this fascinating shawl with others celebrating their lace addiction.
The pattern will be available for purchase on September the 1st

Yarn Substitution:
Choose a solid or only slightly variegated fingering weight (NZ 4 ply) yarn for this shawl in order to highlight the textural nature of the fabric produced.