Meet the Designer #giftalong 2014

Hi everyone,

Hope you are having a fabulous December so far. I am trying to wrap things up so we can hunker down and spend some time together as a family next week and the week after. Before I do that though I have some last minute bits I want to knit for folk who mean a great deal to me. Given that these need to be finished pretty soon I need to plan strategically. I need quick and fabulous knits, chunky yarn seems the answer. Luck would have it that Monika who is the fabulous designer in my “meet the designer” feature today has some gorgeous quick knits. If you are planning some last minute gift knitting I urge you to have a look at her stunning designs.

Here are my three favourite quick knits from her pattern selection.

Pogonip uses under 100m of super bulky so it will be lightening fast to make. It features some lovely textural details and a fabulous pom pom. If you have been following me lately you will know I am pom pom obsessed. 

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It also comes in an ebook with a matching cowl that is perfect for those who like their accessories to come in a set.

The Nollie hat is another bulky knit that would be a perfect quick knit. I love that this hat is super slouchy. After pom poms slouch is my thing when it comes to hats.

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I love these mittens. I have a little one who loves mittens and these would be perfect for her. You could embellish them in so many different ways too. Have a look at all the great projects created by Ravelers. Kveta comes in a wide range of sizes from toddler to large adult. You can also get a matching hat pattern which is possibly one of the cutest hats I have seen in a long while.

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Monika also has a fabulous range of patterns that might not be suitable for knitting on a christmas deadline but they certainly are worth getting on the needles. Two of my favourites are Caramel Frappe, a gorgeous crescent shaped shawl and Saku Hana, intricate and detailed fingerless mitts. The attention to detail in this design is outstanding.

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Last month I caught up with Monika and we chatted a bit about her knitting and designing. I hope you enjoy the interview. There is a lovely giveaway too – details can be found at the end of this post.

CD: Where do you find your design inspiration?

MS: I find my inspiration almost everywhere! It can be a new skein of yarn, a color, a little dress in a magazine, a tiny piece of fabric, a button, a kids’ coloring book, a piece of ribbon, a painting, a photo (not knitting related), new design I am currently working on …. However, most of the time, new ideas pop in my head when there is peace and quiet around me, no tv, no radio, no kids running around. Letting the thoughts flow bring my inspiration new life.

CD: What types of yarn do you love to work with? I would love to know about weights, fibre types, finishes, dyeing methods etc.

MS: I rarely find a yarn I don’t like, 100% merino is my basic I use all the time. But most of the time I go through stages! Maybe everything with silk content seems amazing, and the next time tweed is The One, another time alpaca (yes, alpaca is ‘it’ these days) but mohair always finds a way back to me in one form or another. It would be equally difficult to choose only one weight of yarn as well, I love the look of chunky fabric – even better if it is worked in a lacy stitch! I love the look of delicate lace weight fabric, and I love to use sport weight as a great compromise for year-round wear (especially for kids’ knits).

CD: What is your favourite knitting technique?

MS: Each time I find a new technique, I ask myself how I lived without it for so long! I love Kitchener, German Twisted CO, mattress st, embroidery embellishments, sewn stretchy BO, adding beads, picking up sts. You name it, I would love to try them all!

CD: What is your most treasured or most useful knitting tool?

MS: My life became easier after I bought Addi needles, a ball winder, some rust proof pins and blocking matts :)

CD: What is your favourite quick gift knit pattern, and why?

MS: There is no single answer to this question! Once my kids entered the school system, my designs reflected the need for quick gifts. Choosing the right gift always depends on the person for whom it is intended and from avaliable knitting time. I designed Cabernet Infinity Scarves as teacher gifts for a few reasons. When you want a quick, but need the gift to make an impact (more than just a plain stockinette or garter cowl), Cabernet does the trick! Lente was meant to be a las- minute gift – you can actually CO a few hours before you need to leave your house. I consider Caramel Frappe to be a gift-to-go this season, as it is a shawlette with a lacy border. No one would anticipate how easygoing it is to knit, how quickly it knits up, and how perfect it is for any special person in your life who deserves more than just a cowl. If you need a gift for young people, Saku Hana Mitts are the way to go! And a great gift for a child? Choose a bright, colorful yarn and pair it with Kveta Mitts or Mittens pattern. You will love the recipient’s reaction when she/he opens the package. And speaking of gifts, there is a new one in testing right now. It is a baby blanket suitable for any special occasion, and uses less than  3 skeins of worsted weight yarn! How great is that?

CD: If someone gives you a gift what would you love to receive?

MS: Definitely a project bag! Can you believe I still don’t have one?

CD: Any tips for those taking part in the GAL this year?

MS: Line up your projects! If you know what are you going to CO and what yarn you are going to use before you finish your current projects, you will be surprised how fast the gifts fly off your needles.

CD: Will you be casting anything on for the #giftalong2014?

MS: I sure will! There are quite a few special people who deserve a toasty, wooly surprise this year!

CD: If someone gave you a two week knitting holiday (24 / 7 knitting and relaxing time) what projects, patterns and yarn would you pack in your bags?

MS: Ohh, that would be my dream come true! I would pack yarn for at least 5 sweater projects for myself, just to make sure I wouldn’t run out of the yarn or projects! Sweater projects are always pushed back in my lineups (smaller and quicker projects are to blame for the constant distraction). I would bring my bright green Cascade Eco + for Aidez, blue Madelinetosh Sport for Grandpa Cardigan by Joji, Colour Adventures Merino Light for Casual Lace by Justyna, Rock Candy Mountains colorway for Harvest by Tincanknits, and one of my current WIPs, a new pullover design.

Giveaway

Monika has kindly donated two patterns to giveaway. There will be one pattern each for two lucky blog readers. All you need to do is comment on this post with your favourite design from Monika’s Ravelry store. Pop along and have a look at all her gorgeous designs, then let me know which one is your favourite. The giveaway will close on 31st December and I will announce the winners at the start of January 2015.

You can find Monika in the following places:

Instagram as monikasirnadesigns

 

Free UK Shipping on Books for Limited Period

Good morning.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend. I am looking forward to wrapping up the year and snuggling into some knitting in a few weeks over the holiday period. It has been a fantastic year but my batteries need a little recharge. I hope any preparations you are making for the holiday period are going well.

I have a special offer for the next three days. I will be offering free standard UK shipping on Head to Toe and Sock Anatomy when bought from my shop. I only have limited stock so grab one early if you are keen to get your hands on a copy of my book.

Any books bought from me between 15th and 17th December will be posted using first class recorded mail with the UK.

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Sock Anatomy is a collection of nine sock patterns each featuring a different heel technique. This is the perfect resource for learning to knit socks. The book comes with a download code for the ebook. You will also get the adult sizes for these socks as they are released. Two are already available and the rest are coming in early 2015.

Check out all the designs on my Ravelry page. 

The book retails for £15 and you get a complimentary ebook. 

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Head to Toe is a collection of five stunning accessories using Ginger’s Hand Dyed yarn. Each item has been carefully designed to celebrate Jess’ vintage inspired style. The collection transports you on a journey from high summer in Edinburgh, with Montrose and Brunswick to the colder days of winter, with warm snuggly Elgin socks.

Want to see the designs and some other knitter’s projects. Check out the Ravelry pages. 

The book retails for £12 and you get a complimentary ebook. 

If you want a copy of the book but would prefer just the digital version this can be bought through my Ravelry store. 

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Happy Knitting.

Clare

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New Toasty Knits Out This Week

Hello there,

Goodness it is cold out there folks. This southern hemisphere gal does not know what to do with herself it is so cold (for me anyway, I know it is much colder for others at this time). I hope December is going well for you, and you have lots of toasty knits to keep you warm. This week my aim is to wear as much knitwear as possible, usually all at once.

It has been a busy few weeks around here and I wanted to share some amazing and exciting projects I have been working on. First up these warm and toasty mitts are out in Knit Now this week. Crumpet are lightening fast to knit up from a single skein of chunky yarn. Perfect for warming your hands during this cold snap.

Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing. Used with permission.

Copyright Dan Walmsley for Practical Publishing. Used with permission.

Next up an exciting client project I have been working was released yesterday. I am immensely proud to have been involved with this project. Eden Cottage Yarns has just released their first collection. The Bletchley Collection comprises of six fabulous designs in Victoria’s stunning Milburn 4ply, by Joanne Scrace. The BlueFaced Leicester and Silk blend is amazing to work with and the colours work so well with the vintage inspired designs.

I worked on the layout of the patterns and designed the book layout. It was a great project to work on and a fantastic team of people to work with. I think I might cast on a Baudot hat when a get a moment spare over the next few weeks. I love the inspiration behind the design. Pop over the Victoria’s | Eden Cottage Yarn blog to find out more about this brilliant collection. 

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Also – don’t forget that Jess from Ginger Twist Studio and I will be in Glasgow at The Queen of Purls this Saturday. Zoe has organised a great fundraising event and Jess will have all her amazing hand dyed yarn available to squish (and buy). The samples from Head to Toe will also be available for you to try on and I will have books and patterns for sale too. Hope to see you there.

Lastly for today Rachel at Tangled Yarn sent me some brilliant Asymmetrical Needles to try knitting some socks with.

Kinki Amibari Asymmetric Circular Needle. Photo copyright Tangled Yarn, used with permission.

Kinki Amibari Asymmetric Circular Needle. Photo copyright Tangled Yarn, used with permission.

I will be road testing these over the holiday break and will update you about my thoughts in the new year. If you want to know more about choosing knitting needles for sock knitting listen to my latest segment on the Shinybees podcast. 

I have some more news coming later this week, including a round-up of next years workshops and another design (this time to warm your toes over the holidays).

Have a fantastic day.

Happy Knitting.

Clare

Celebrating One Year of The Golden Skein

A year ago I signed up for a very special yarn club. The Golden Skein is the brainchild of my close friend and fabulous podcaster Jo from Shinybees. She worked closely with her business partner Kate (of Kate’s Twirl) to develop an outstanding yarn club. The intention is to introduce you to new-to-you dyers from all corners of the glob. Each quarter a shiny gold package arrives on your doorstep contain three skeins dyed to an inspiration picture. The year of yarn has been outstanding and I feel very privileged to be part of their first birthday celebrations.

Jo asked me if I want to design a shawl to celebrate one year of The Golden Skein and presented me with a stunning skein of Eden Cottage Yarn. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with such an amazing yarn. The brief was elegant, simple, striking beauty with beads. The result is …

Kunye (Zulu; meaning one)

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Kunye oozes elegance and simplicity. The top down, crescent shape construction results in a wide shallow shawl. Perfect for draping over your shoulders, adding a touch of style to your party outfit or wrapping around your neck for a more casual everyday option.  Because every day should be a Golden Skein day.

This is the perfect shawl for that special skein you have in your stash. It needs 400m and would suit many different fibre contents. Silk would be fantastic and allow the shawl to drape beautifully around your shoulders, as would the bamboo / merino blends around. The beads add weight to the border meaning you could also use more springy yarns such as Blue-Faced Leicester and Merino.

There is a knit-along planned in The Golden Skein group on Ravelry, starting on the 20th December and running well into 2015. This is a lovely friendly group so please do pop along and say hi if you want to join in.

Have a wonderful week.

Happy knitting,

Clare

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Caught My Eye: Sloth by Barbara Prime

Apologies for the brief break in service this week folks, it has been a rocky week here at “Casa Devine”. I have a number of blog posts waiting in the wings and for those of you are waiting for posts about needles after my guest segment with Jo (aka Shinybees) fear not the posts will be here for you over the weekend.

Last night I went up to Fluph in Dundee with Jess from Ginger Twist and completely forgot to post this super cute “Caught My Eye”.

Copyright Barbara Prime. Used with permission.

Copyright Barbara Prime. Used with permission.

I have not done any gift knitting and in all honesty I am not sure if I will get any done this year. However, I do want to knit a present for the little one. Her birthday is in late January so I have some time.

I love this little critter he is super cute and if you are not a sloth fan Barbara Prime has loads of other cute little characters. 

The Three Toed Sloth costs $2.99 (just under £2) and is worked up in worsted weight yarn, though I am sure it would be easy to knit him with anything. With heavier weight yarn he will be quick to knit. Perfect for a last-minute gift.

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Have you got any knitted toys planned for the holiday season?

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Clare

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Events in December

December is here, the bright and cheery lights are making an appearance and the festive season is upon us. To bring this busy year to a close I have two final big events to share with you. I will be out and about in Scotland this month saying hi to lovely knitty folk and stopping by some of my favourite shops.

Copyright Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. Used under Creative Commons license.

Copyright Ryan McGuire of Bells Design. Used under Creative Commons license.

First up – Fluph in Dundee is turning 1! Jess (from Ginger Twist Studio) and I will be there this Thursday with lots of gorgeous yarn and patterns. I will have my books too and Jess and I have done some exciting kits for you. If you are in Dundee pop past the shop to say hi and join in the party.

Fluph

Thursday 4th Dec. 4 – 6pm at Fluph 164 Blackness Road, Dundee, DD1 5PQ

Next Jess and I are heading to Glasgow to visit the wonderful Zoe from Queen of Purls. We will be joining her for a fabulous day of festive celebrations to raise funds for The Great British Farm Project (more details can be found on Zoe’s blog). The event will run from 12 – 5pm and there will be lots of fun, laughter, knitting and general festive cheer. Zoe is running a mini workshop to create a hand felted ornament and there will be a raffle. Jess has dyed up loads of gorgeous yarn too to go with all my new patterns. It will be a great day. Hope you can pop past and say hi.

Queen of Purls

Saturday 13th Dec. 12 – 5pm, The Queen of Purls, 91 Saltmarket, Glasgow, G1 5LE

Hope to see some of you at one of these events.

Enjoy your Tuesday. I will have those promised articles about knitting needles later this week.

Happy knitting,

Clare

Quadratic KAL

Hi,

Hope you had a good weekend wherever you are in the world. Mine was busy and filled with a visit from a very good friend. It was brilliant to catch up and nice to take a break away from the laptop.

Today is the 1st of December. I can’t quite believe it myself but indeed it is true. Even though I am still pretty stretched with work knitting and deadlines I want to be kind to myself and knit something relaxing over the next few weeks. I have chosen to take part in the Quadratic KAL being held in the Eden Cottage Yarns group. I work closely with both Victoria and Jo and thought it would be a great way to relax and chat to knitty folk.

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Quadratic by David O’Kelly is simply brilliant. You may recall me professing my love for this pattern a little while ago when it first came out. A large garter triangle with perfectly placed stripes. Easy to knit and the ideal project for using up some much loved yarn where I only have a little bit left from a skein. I had previously cast on for this in 4ply (the suggested weight) however for a number of reasons I decided against continuing with that yarn. For this KAL I am opting for a DK version, it is going to get cold soon enough and I will need a warm cosy shawl for the long days at my desk (my office has no radiator so can be a little chilly).

I chose some fabulous Whitfell DK, the new 100% alpaca mill dyed range from Eden Cottage Yarns and went stash diving for my contrast stripes. I have a delicate silvery grey called Dove from Ginger’s Hand Dyed, some bold green, Almost Spring, and fluorescent yellow, Highlighter, from Rainbow Heirloom and then some stunning bright blue Navia and some hot pink from West Yorkshire Spinners. It is going to be an 80’s inspired neon shawl, and it’s going to be epic.

Quadratic

 

Fancy joining in? I would love to chat to some of you over in the Eden Cottage Yarns group.  You can find the KAL here. 

Want to get your hands on a copy of the pattern, pop over to Ravelry by clicking here. 

Have a wonderful week.

Clare x

 

Meet The Designer #giftalong2014 (it’s me)

Hope you are having a good weekend. Things here are off to a slow start but that is how I like my Saturday morning.

After some intense deadline knitting over the last week I have a beautiful new secret project blocking and a little bit of breathing time to knit something that isn’t on a deadline. This is a wonderful feeling.

Last night I did a few rounds on my latest personal project, a very bright version of Snell. I am knitting this to wear on my bike as I cycle around Edinburgh. It is hopefully going to keep my neck warm and tone down my very bright luminous high visibility jacket (although I think I need to accept that nothing will ever tone that beast of a jacket down).

My Snell is being worked in Rainbow Heirloom. The “Sweater” base is a fabulous yarn is the colourways Highlighter and Grey Whale. I will be doing a full review of this yarn once I have worked with it for a little longer. Although I can already add that I knitted a hat for my little girl in the “Almost Spring” colourway and it is brilliant. The yarn blocks beautifully and wears really well.

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I also wanted to let you know about a lovely interview that Sashka Knits just did with me as part of the Ravelry #giftalong2014 event. You can read her interview on the Sashka Knits blog, click here to pop over to her little corner of the internet. 

Finally I am taking part in a very exciting KAL starting next week. More details on that tomorrow.

What are you working on at the moment? I love to hear about your projects.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Happy Knitting.

Clare

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Caught My Eye – Yukiya

A day later than usual, here is this weeks Caught My Eye.

I first spotted this hat a while ago and immediately fell in love with the colours and the way the stitch patterns blends the yarns together to create such a beautiful effect.

When Julia Trice released the pullover I knew this has to be featured in”Caught my Eye”.

The Yukiya Hat uses three colours of 4 ply yarn, with the two contrasting colours needing only 55m each. A great way to stash bust!

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

The Yukiya pullover is knitted from the bottom up and uses the same slipped stitch pattern around the neckline. The circular yoke is very flattering and the pattern comes in ten sizes.

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

Copyright: Julia Trice. Used with permission

 Julia also has lots of other gorgeous patterns. I highly recommend having a look. 

Hope all my US readers had a wonderful thanks giving and that everyone has a fantastic weekend ahead.

Happy Knitting.

Clarex

Guest Post on Wovember Blog

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I am honoured to have been asked to blog for Wovember. In true Clare style I have written about sock knitting and sock yarn. This time I have gone in search of the perfect sock yarn, without nylon. Yes folks, after all my advocating for nylon I have gone searching for the complete opposite.

I still think there is a need for nylon in sock yarns but my eyes have recently been opened to the world of sock knitting without nylon. Pop over to the Wovember blog to read the article I wrote for the team there. I hope you enjoy it. Click on the link to go straight to the article.

Pure Wool for Socks (no nylon here folks)

Happy knitting,

Clare

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