New design – Vaila

Last week I released a new pattern, Vaila, this is the first in a series of shawls designed to showcase shawl knitting and lace techniques.

Vaila.  A design by Clare Devine

Vaila.
A design by Clare Devine

Vaila is a great pattern for someone who wants to get to grips with lace and chart reading. The lace edge is knitted at the same time as the body so every second row gives you a little chance to practice your lace and chart skills, with the soothing balance of a garter stitch body.

The lace edge in inspired by traditional Shetland lace knitting, hence the name. Vaila is part of the Shetland isles. I can’t wait for the opportunity to visit that part of the country.

The sample shown in knitted in one of my favourite British yarns of the moment. Brigantia is a fabulous workhorse yarn available in so many glorious colours. This is their DK yarn.

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The design is worked on a percentage system though so can be knitted in any weight and almost any yardage. Detailed instructions are included in the pattern to help you select the best yarn and needles for your project.

This shawl is perfect for wrapping around your shoulders on a cool spring evening and depending on your yarn choice would be a perfect summer wrap.

I hope you enjoying knitting it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

If you live in, or near, Edinburgh you could come along to one of the workshops where I look at all the skills needed to knit this shawl and read lace from a chart. More details can be found on http://www.gingertwiststudios.com/workshops/

Happy knitting.

C

x

DSC_0041

How did you knit yours?

Welcome to another installment of “How did you knit yours”, today I am looking at one of my all time favourite shawl patterns. I often find myself suggesting people knit one of these shawls. It is a simple, yet interesting construction that yields a truly magical result. I love this pattern and have knitted three myself already, I am sure there will be more to come.

The pattern is Simmer Dim by Gudrun Johnston, originally from Scotland who now lives in Western Massachusetts. She has a wonderful selection of designs including many gorgeous shawls and some truly magnificent garments. If you have not come across her work I encourage you to have a look at her designs on Ravelry. 

My Simmer Dims were knitted in very different yarns and produced equally different but stunning results. I love seeing how a shawl can be transformed depending on the yarn you select for the project. My first shawl was knitted from a luxurious blend of alpaca, cashmere and silk from Old Maiden Aunt who is based in Scotland. Her yarn is amazing and I love her colour sense. I then made a second version from bamboo for my lovely mother in law, this pattern really works well with the drape of the bamboo. My last Simmer Dim was knitted from The Natural dye Studio 100% silk, a gift from my lovely (knitter) sister. It is very luxurious and drapes beautifully. In this last version I adjusted the size of the shawl to use all of my yarn and it worked very nicely. This shawl is perfect for increasing the size, it makes a wonderful wrap.

When I went in search of other knitters shawls I thought I would look for some other people who had used silk. After all, who does not love a little bit of silky luxury in their knitting from time to time. Feast your eyes on this selection of beauties.

First up a DK version using Viola Silky DK by RobbyRaccoon

Used with permission. Copyright: Robbyraccoon

Used with permission. Copyright: Robbyraccoon

Next we have a gorgeous heathered grey version by Dabhand, using Juno Fibre Arts alpaca, silk and cashmere. I am pretty sure this is the same base that I used for my first shawl, if it is, it’s just magical. Juno Fibre Arts is one of the dyers on my list to try, she has a wonderful sense of colour.

Used with permission. Copyright: Dabhand

Used with permission. Copyright: Dabhand

Another Simmer Dim in the fabulous Juno Fibre Arts, knitted in the colourway pewter. This is my kind of colour and it really shows off the shawl design too. Domesticali has done an amazing job. 

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This version by OldRaptorFarm uses Skein silk / merino. The colour is so delicate and I love how it shines in this design. A simply magnificent combination of yarn and pattern.

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Finally in the silk feast we have this version by LuneH in Skein lace weight alpaca, silk and cashmere. Showing just how versatile this pattern really is.

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In addition to the luxurious silk versions of this shawl I was amazed by the vast array of colours used to showcase beautiful yarns and this amazing design.

Here are some of my favourites.

This rich shade of Hedgehog Fibres yarn used by TumblingBlocks is a brilliant choice for this design, the little pops of colour are pure magic.

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I am a sucker for grey yarn. I know this is not news to most of you. I love grey, every shade of grey. What I love more than grey, is a fabulous pattern crafted by a talented knitter in a gorgeous shade of grey. This project by lalaquifeequoi ticks all the right boxes. She used Lioness Arts Smooth Merino Fingering in the colourway, Crooked Rain. This is another UK indy dyer on my list of yarn to try.

Used with permission. Copyright: lalaquifeequoi

Used with permission. Copyright: lalaquifeequoi

She has created this brighter version in Shibui Sock. While I love grey with all my heart, I am a little partial to a pop of colour, and this fits the bill.

I also love this grellow version by Firebrunette. The colourway really packs a punch. It is vibrant and it’s just wonderful.

Used with permission. Copyright: Firebrunette

Used with permission. Copyright: Firebrunette

I am not great with yellow, it does not always suit me. However, I often find myself drawn to yellow yarn and love knitting a few stitches of sunshine into my life whenever I can.

This example by bizbis is the ray of sunshine I love to see on Ravelry, and the fact it is hand spun makes it even more magical.

Used with permission. Copyright: Bizbis

Used with permission. Copyright: Bizbis

A slightly muted yellow but still a gorgeous colour, this example from Bossyfemme makes my heart sing. I also love the photography. 

Have you knitted the Simmer Dim? I would love to see pictures of your finished projects. After looking at all of these photos while compiling this post I feel the itch to cast on another one.

Have a wonderful week.

C

x

Update and exciting news

Hello,

It has been far too long since I popped past and wrote to you all. The last month has been a whirl wind of chaos, some good and some a little trying, but nothing terrible. It certainly has been busy though and I have lots of things on the horizon that I will be sharing with you soon. Some exciting collaborations and new designs. I promise I will not keep you in suspense too much longer.

In general news, I now have a job. Not that I have not been working very hard over the last 14 months. Looking after a little soul (or at least trying) and working on my designing and knitting related writing has kept me on my toes. So to add to the mix of things that is my life I have a “job, job” style job – one where I have to leave the house, and I can’t work in my pjs while drinking tea, type job. I won’t bore you with all the details as it has nothing to do with knitting, all I will say is that I am very happy about said job. It is keeping me busy but I am working in a field I feel passionate about, so life is good.

I certainly do not intend to stop the blog, designing or knitting related work, it might just be a little slower on that front as I find a balance between work and life again.

To add to the new job, we have a new flat (another new flat) so the last month has involved packing, lifting, carrying and then unpacking. Followed by endless phone calls to utilities companies and other boring things. On the new abode front, I am happy to inform you I have secured a prime location for my stash in the cupboard next to my bed. You know, in case I feel the need to rummage through the stash and find new yarn in the middle of the nightof course.

In between moving and getting a job I have done some writing for ….. drum roll please……

The Knitter!

The Knitter - Issue 70

The Knitter – Issue 70

I am so excited to have an article published in this amazing magazine, it makes me feel really proud. So if you fancy learning more about how to get the most from your sock heels grab yourself a copy of the latest issue of The Knitter, Issue 70. You can find me on page 74. The magazine also has, as always, a fabulous selection of patterns and brilliant articles. I can’t wait for toddler bedtime so I can put my feet up and read this issue cover to cover.

If that was not enough excitement for one day, I also feature in the latest episode of Knit British by Louise Scollay. If you have not started listening to this podcast already I suggest you drop everything, this second, and dash off to download the first few episodes. She is AMAZING!

More from me later on in the week.

Happy knitting.

Clare

x

 

I Finished Something …

I have finished a few things recently but they have all been ‘work knitting’, samples for workshops or designs I am working on. I love ‘work knitting’ but there is something deeply satisfying about finishing personal knitting, especially when it holds lots of memories.

This hat is one of my favourite knits and I am pretty sure I am going to make another one, or two. It would be the perfect gift hat, and I would love to see what it looks like other types of yarn.

The pattern is Castiel by the brilliant designer Woolly Wormhead, she is a hat designing genius and her patterns are always a joy to work from. I chose to knit this in a very special skein of yarn from Hartlam a fabulous South African designer. It is the Sutherland DK base in a stunning shade of blue with just the right amount of sparkle. The drape of the silk coupled with the bounce of the Merino makes it the perfect hat yarn.

There is also a story behind this skein that makes it extra special. In the final weeks of living in South Africa I was lucky enough to visit my wonderful friend Sally in Cape Town and we headed out to talk to Michelle about her yarn. It was great to meet her and see her studio. I could have bought so much of her yarn, it is all so beautiful. She has some carefully selected luxury bases and a wonderful colour sense. Unfortunately we were about to move across the world money and space were tight, so I chose one skein and decided I would make a special hat with it.

This is that hat, it holds many memories.

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Excuse the terrible photo, I am having one of those days and this was the best hat self portrait I could muster.

 

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This one shoes you the utterly gorgeous stitch pattern that is the main feature of this hat and the way it works so well with this yarn.

I’m very happy with this project and even though the photos do not do it justice I can assure you it is definitely worth knitting.

What have you got on your needles? Have you finished anything recently?

Have a wonderful knitting filled week …

Caught My Eye

Hope you have had a good weekend. It is all go here again at the moment. Lots of exciting things happening.

I have decided to start another more regular feature. I often see something come up on Ravelry and just think – yes! Sometimes it is something that is totally “me” and sometimes it is something that I would not usually have pegged as a “Clare pattern”. Every time though, it has some kind of wow factor. I thought it would be fun to share these with you, hopefully you will spot something along the way that speaks to you.

The first pattern I have picked instantly jumped out at me and has stayed with me all week. It seems to be doing very well on Ravelry in the “hot right now” selection too. I love seeing designers do well, especially those who might not be the big name designers but who have original and stylish designs.

The Quills Arrow Shawl by Courtney Spainhower is absolutely stunning. This large shawl has it all. An interesting, unique and wearable shape coupled with little details, like the feathers, make this a standout design in my book. Courtney has amazing yarn to work with here, and she really has made it shine with her clever but sophisticated pattern. I adore this shawl.

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

The yarn looks pretty special too. Lisa from Northbound Knitting really turns out some stellar colourways. She also creates amazing shawl patterns and has a soft spot for grey. My kind of dyer and knitwear designer.

Here are some pictures of the gorgeous shawl and more details can be found on the designers page. I am very tempted to see what I can find in my stash and cast this shawl on. It will have to be fingering weight as I just don’t have enough DK at the moment. The other option would be to do some yarn shopping next weekend …

Courtney also has a beautiful jumper out that caught my eye, Bailiwick Pullover is a modern take on the gansey style jumper. Created in light fingering with a loose but very flattering fit. Its a beautiful garment.

I really recommend having a look at these patterns, and I will certainly be keeping an eye of Courtney Spainhower to see what she releases in the near future.

Have a wonderful week.

Happy knitting x

How did you knit yours?

I love my Rikke hat. Actually to say I love it is an understatement. I ADORE this hat. I wear it day in and day out, none of my other hats really get a look in. It is the perfect slouch, and the yarn I chose for it is the perfect slouch yarn.

In homage to the Rikke hat I thought I would start a new feature based on my favourite knits. So, here you have it.

“How did you knit yours?” is going to feature lots of examples of how other fabulous knitters have knitted the projects I am most fond of. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy putting it together.

The Rikke hat has been knitted over 4,000 times since it was published in January 2011 by Sarah Young. It is a free pattern that is very well written and easy to follow. It is perfect for learning to knit in the round if you are a beginner knitter and a wonderfully relaxing knit if you are more experienced. As you will see from the projects I have picked it is also the perfect showcase project for amazing yarn, colour and modifications.

Lets get started shall we.

Stripes, ah stripes, how I love thee. This pattern is the perfect choice to experiment with colour and stripes. I love these examples they make my heart sing!

A flash of bright on a neutral background, pale grey and yellow, add a pom pom … what more do you need in your life? MissMaria’s example is just what you need on a dreary winters day. 

Rikke_Stripes_missmaria

Used with permission. Copyright MissMaria

Maybe you prefer more colour in your relationship with grey? A few grounding grey stripes in this pink example knitted by FallMasche could be the answer to your quest for the perfect stripe combination.

Used with permission. Copyright: Fallmasche

Used with permission. Copyright: Fallmasche

Bright colours not your thing? You could pair your grey with a richer shade like 1morerow did here. 

Used with permission. Copyright 1morerow

Used with permission. Copyright 1morerow

In need of some rainbow love? The dark grey background in this example by hpnyknits allows those rainbow colours to shine through. 

Used with permission. Copyright: hpnyknits

Not a fan of grey? I am not sure it is possible to not like grey, but then I am so deeply in love with grey maybe I just can’t see sense anymore.

This is a colourful and fun combination of bright and rich. This Rikke was knitted by Katlinn. 

Used with permission. Copyright: Katlinn

Used with permission. Copyright: Katlinn

Staying with green, you might prefer this striped version by Cringer. I love how the deeper shades grounds the bright stripes.

Used with permission. Copyright: Cringer

Used with permission. Copyright: Cringer

Last, but certainly not least in the stripe section, is this classic combination of navy and white. Idlewitch knitted this out of Debbie Bliss Summer Cotton (100% cotton) and Exotics Merino and Linen (65% Merino and 35% Linen) making it the perfect spring and summer hat. 

Used with permission. Copyright: Idlewitch

Then there are the examples that showcase colour, plain and simple. No stripes needed here, just glorious colour. I love these two examples. On the right by AliciaPlum and on the left by PurlDragon in Malabrigo Rios aptly named Sunset. 

Another colour jamboree come in the handspun section, I was blown away by the gorgeous handspun creations. This hat is perfect for showcasing those masterpiece skeins. I really do need to splash out on some handspun one day.

These are my four favourite handspun examples.

From top, clockwise: The bright colours of this example by RiverWaters could certainly brighten your day. This calm and neutral example by Jodeci is pure understated beauty. The fresh green shades in this example by Knitbugval make me long for warm spring days. Finally, the muted colours of this example just work so well together it was knitted by Petramar, who has knitted six Rikke hats! That is testament to how versatile this pattern is.

As mentioned before, this hat lends itself perfectly to modifications. Many people have opted to do columns of slipped stitches up the length of the hat.

The samples shown below give you an idea of how a simple line of slipped stitches can add so much to this lovely hat pattern. From left to right Autumnal colours from Conniecaps, Grey (did I ever mention how much I love grey?) from KatLinn, and a striking berry red from Smokey.

Used with permission. Copyright (left to right) Conniecaps, KatLinn and Smokey

Here is a selection of other modifications to this hat that caught my eye, if you are looking for inspiration for a modified Rikke hat, this is a good place to start.

Using a skein of Noro and a skein of grey merino, Infusionn gave the Rikke hat a new twist, alternating between stocking stitch and garter stitch, this hat is very striking. They grey breaks up the Noro stripes, giving them space to pop out of the hat in bursts of colour.

Used with permission. Copyright: Infusionn

This modification is pure brilliance, Ninetoedwoman has added a little ruched pleat, giving a lovely feminine touch to the hat. This example is knitted out of 100% cashmere. Pure luxury!

Used with permission. Copyright: Ninetoedwoman

Ramblingroses created a Rikke with a textured stitch pattern. This simple adaptation of the design results in a unique hat, with that Rikke slouch. A lovely fun combination of knit and purl. Great for showcasing semi-solid yarns.

Used with permission. Copyright: ramblingroses

If modifying the hat is not your thing, or not enough, you could follow in the footsteps of these Ravellers.

TheSweetStitch added these bright red buttons to her subtle grey hat. They are so fun, and such a quick but striking added detail. I really love how this hat turned out.

Used with permission. Copyright: TheSweetStitch

Used with permission. Copyright: TheSweetStitch

Or you could go down the serious embellishment route like BonnylassinVT and add some extra details to the hat. I love these leaves!

Used with permission. Copyright: Bonnylassinvt

Used with permission. Copyright: Bonnylassinvt

Finally I have picked an example of a knitter (Revelling) who has taken the best of both worlds and combined her two favourite patterns to make her ideal hat. This is one of my favourite things about knitting, the fact you can take a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Add it together, and turn out something fabulous!

This hat is a combination of the Rikke hat and the Garter Stripe Beanie by Terhi Montonen

Used with permission. Copyright: Revelling

Used with permission. Copyright: Revelling

So there you have it, my homage to the Rikke Hat.

Hopefully I have inspired you to knit your own Rikke Hat. I really don’t think you will regret it.

Have you already knitted a Rikke Hat? If you have, how did you knit yours? I would love to hear about your yarn choices, modifications or see your fabulous pictures of your FOs.

Happy knitting x

Here is my Rikke Hat knitted from Hartlam Sutherland DK in the Choose Your Weapon colourway. 

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Advent Garland KAL

Here is 4/24. The tree. I used scraps of yarn and some tiny seed beads to decorate it.

photo-59

The design is by Frankie Brown and is free on Ravelry. The designer does ask for a donation to Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in lieu of payment for the patterns. www.justgiving.com/frankiesknittedstuff

The advent garland is a set of decorations held on knitted garland strip. The details can be found here. 

Happy Friday everyone.

x

 

Need some colour in your life?

A while back I interviewed the fabulous Pink Hair Girl who is a dear friend of mine. She lives in sunny Cape Town and keeps me smiling in the depths of winter by frequently sending me photos of the beach, the mountain and the sunshine.

Yesterday she released a gorgeous shawl, BURST, I would not usually write about a new release but I just could not help myself with this one. The colours made my heart sing, they lifted my spirits, this shawl was just what the doctor ordered to get me through the rest of the cold, dark days of winter.

Images used with kind permission of Pink Hair Girl. Copyright: PHG

The story behind the design is fascinating too. Sally ran a competition in her group on Ravelry and then designed the shawl with the winner in mind. I really love this idea.

I encourage you to pop over and take a look at this new design. It is also 50% off until the 19th of February with the code BURST. This means the pattern is an absolute steal at just over £1.50. 

Think of all the colour combinations you could play with. Bright, monochrome, tonal shades. The possibilities are endless.

Happy Knitting x

 

Workshops at Ginger Twist Studio, Edinburgh

I am very excited to announce that I have some new workshops booked in at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. 

All the information can be found on the Workshops page on my blog - http://yarnandpointysticks.com/workshops/

You can also find information on the Ginger Twist Studio blog - http://www.gingertwiststudios.com/workshops/

This weekend we have two spots left on the heel turn workshop. Over two weeks you will explore many different ways of turning a sock heel. Toe up, top down, heel flaps, short rows, textured stitch patterns … It is great fun. The class is from 11.30am to 1pm on Saturday 15th February and Saturday 22nd February. To book contact Jess at the shop.

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Knitting With Two Hands…

You might want to say (as my husband did, upon me announcing this over the weekend) – “Don’t you always knit with two hands?” In all honesty I would not blame you, the statement does seem a little strange. Let me explain.

I am a thrower (I knit “English”), though I am not a true thrower as I have adapted my technique, as may knitters do, to speed things up. In the past I have always shied away from “Continental Knitting”. In all honesty I did not want to have to learn something new, especially when the current method I have seemed to work so well.

Everything changed when I decided to challenge myself for the Ravellenics this year. I thought I would try a spot of colour work, I wanted to learn more about stranded knitting. All of a sudden I needed to knit with two hands! One “English” and one “Continental”. Cue mild panic as I realised I need to face my fear of holding yarn in my left hand. This last weekend has been a little bit of an adventure in tight knitting as I slowly made my way through the stitches, using both hands.

Here is my progress so far. The pattern is by Vala Jonsdottir, a local designer and it is called Winter Heather. Unfortunately the pattern is not listed on Ravelry but you can see examples of her work in her Ravelry store. 

photo-58 copy 2

I am challenging myself as part of the Ravellenics event hosted by Ravelry to coincide with the Winter Olympics In Sochi, Russia.

There has been much controversy surrounding this event, predominently centred around Russian human rights abuses and their treatment of the LGBT community.

I strongly believe that all people have the right to live in peace, to be treated with respect and to love without restrictions. I know this does not happen in many parts of the world, but I believe wholeheartedly in the sentiment of a statement I read recently, being in love should not be a crime. Neither should it invite violent attacks upon your person. I am not boycotting the olympics but I am mindful of the treatment of the LGBT community and many others, including migrant workers, by the current administration in Russia. I do not believe we should allow this to continue unchallenged.

If you are interested in reading more about this and other situations around the world I highly recommend Human Rights Watch. They have excellent research on many issues around the world.

The knitting world. as I expected it would, has come together in a phenomenal way to raise awareness of these issues, with a specific focus on LGBT rights. Many exceptional initiatives have been started. If you are interested in reading more, or supporting the many fundraising efforts for organisations advocating for LGBT rights around the world, have a look at some of the links listed below.

Lilith, the indie dyer behind Old Maiden Aunt wrote this excellent blog post, discussing why this issue is so important and giving some insight into her stance in relation to the Ravellenics. She also dyed some amazing yarn, although that has now unfortunately sold out.

Kate Heppel, a UK designer and the editor of Knit Now magazine has this gorgeous pattern available to raise awareness. She encourages people to talk and discuss this issue. I agree with her sentiment. “Please spread the word. Start a discussion. We cannot and will not be silenced.”

BristolIvy who blogs at Black Bird Turning has written a wonderful post combining the fabulous efforts of designers world wide to raise awareness and money. I highly recommend this article. 

There is indeed much food for thought. I would like to leave this post in the spirit of the A Playful Day post, one of activism but with love in our hearts.

I believe that positive action without negative anger, is far more productive than angry action.

Thank you x