Fisherman’s Rib Hat Pattern Published

Fisherman’s Rib is a lovely squishy stitch which produces a warm and very stretchy fabric. It is ideal for hats as the stretchiness makes it a perfect fit for any sized head.

I knit my version in a lovely variegated organic Merino Aran weight yarn, from Felt Fusion on Etsy, but it looks equally lovely in plain coloured, tonal, or even self striping yarn.

You can buy the pattern in the Granary Knits Ravelry pattern store.

Chicken Knitting Ebook

Of all animals, I think I have always like birds the best, probably influenced by my Mother, who kept Zebra Finches, Canaries, and Lovebirds, and avidly watched the wild birds in her garden. She even had a Silkie cockerel, rescued from a school egg-hatching program and given the run of the house and garden for many years. It was not until 2007 that I kept any birds of my own, and I started with hens. I liked the idea of fresh eggs for breakfast, but the day we acquired Hetty, Betty, and Letty, was the day I lost my heart to them. As soon as I held one in my arms, I was smitten, and the longer I have kept them, and the better I understand them, the more I see their individual characters, their behavioural traits, their likes and dislikes, their amazing colouring, the variation of comb and wattle shapes, their unique song.

When I started designing knitted textiles, my flock of hens (and one cockerel) featured very prominently in my inspiration. This first collection of patterns is a result of that inspiration, and covers the stranded colourwork designs based upon feather shapes and colours.

The patterns in the ebook collection are:

Feather Cap Beanie
Fingerless Feather Mittens
Full Feather Mittens

Feather Cowl (not yet published)

Each pattern is available individually, or you can buy the ebook collection here:

Full Feather Mittens Pattern Released

Designed to match the Feather Cap Beanie, and the Fingerless Feather Mittens released a few weeks ago, these full mittens reflect the patterns and colours of my little flock of beautiful Cream Legbar hens (and one cockerel).

Full Feather Mitts are stranded knit mittens, using ten colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wonderful pure wool Spindrift yarn. The motif itself and the colours I have chosen reflect the feather patterns and colours of my lovely Cream Legbar chickens: Freddie, Sorrel, Sage, and Lavender. From a distance they look a like a dull brown, but close up, their feathers are a beautiful brown/grey, with touches of cream and pink. The four background colours and six foreground colours reflect this lovely effect.

Sorrel

Suggestions are made for other colourways, notably a lovely monochrome palette.

The pattern is available from my Ravelry Pattern Store

Fingerless Feather Mittens Pattern Released

Designed to match the Feather Cap Beanie, these fingerless mittens reflect the patterns and colours of my little flock of beautiful Cream Legbar hens (and one cockerel).

Fingerless Feather Mitts are stranded knit mittens, using ten colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wonderful pure wool Spindrift yarn. The motif itself and the colours I have chosen reflect the feather patterns and colours of my lovely Cream Legbar chickens: Freddie, Sorrel, Sage, and Lavender. From a distance they look a like a dull brown, but close up, their feathers are a beautiful brown/grey, with touches of cream and pink. The four background colours and six foreground colours reflect this lovely effect.

Sorrel

Suggestions are made for other colourways, notably a lovely monochrome palette.

The pattern is available from my Ravelry Pattern Store   

Incorporating a Thumb in Top-down Mittens

There are, of course, several ways to knit a mitten, and I have tried most of them. My favourite technique, at the moment, is to knit the thumb first, place it on waste yarn, and then begin the mitten at the fingertip end, knitting down the hand until you reach the point when you incorporate the thumb. You can try the mitten on at every stage, to get the most comfortable width for you and the best length before you add in the thumb. It also has the advantage that the technique for casting on for full mittens is identical to that for toe-up socks, so if you are a sock knitter, the method is entirely familiar.

This technique is used in several of my mitten patterns: Fingerless Feather Mittens, Full Feather Mittens, and my free pattern for sock yarn mittens; this photo tutorial is an aid to those patterns. The thumb is incorporated into the mitten and a gusset is then knit to taper the mitten.

Thumb

First, knit your thumb, according to the pattern you are using. This can be a half-thumb (for fingerless mittens) or a full thumb.

Thread the first 2 stitches and the last 2 stitches of the round onto a small piece of waste yarn, and thread the remaining stitches of the thumb onto a longer piece of waste yarn.

Mitten

Work the first part of the mitten, from fingertip/fingerless mitt ribbing, to the point where the thumb joins the palm. The mittens are identical for the purposes of attaching the thumbs. Ensure you have worked the mitten to 2 stitches before the end of the round where you will attach the thumb. Using a piece of waste yarn, thread the two stitches from the beginning of the mitten round and the 2 unworked stitches from the end of the round onto the waste yarn, as you did for the thumbs.

Take one of the pre-prepared thumbs and remove the longer piece of waste yarn as you place half the remaining thumb stitches onto one of the mitten needles and the other half onto the other needle; the 4 stitches still on the waste yarn should be sitting adjacent to the mitten stitches also on waste yarn.

Round 1: Knit around the mitten and thumb once, the start of round now being the last mitten stitch of the round, adjacent to the first thumb stitch.

Round 2: ssk the first mitten stitch with the first thumb stitch, knit across the thumb to the last thumb stitch, k2tog the last thumb stitch with the next mitten stitch. Knit around the mitten to the end of round. [2 stitches decreased]

Round 3: knit

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until all thumb stitches have been decreased.

Knit straight until mitten reaches your wrist bone, then add the cuff of your choice.

Once the gusseted thumb has been incorporated into the mitten, you can close the gap by grafting/Kitchener stitching the 4 stitches of the mitten with the 4 stitches of the thumb. See YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJFRI-_EQeA for a great tutorial on Kitchener Stitch.

 

Simple Linen Stitch Cowl

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been cataloguing my yarn stash and came across some hidden gems of yarns purchased long ago and with no plan for their use, and I decided to design a simple cowl that would use them up. This pattern is part of my Love Your Stash Challenge for 2019, in which I aim to use yarn from stash for a series of simple accessories.

The yarns are Louisa Harding Grace Hand-Dyed, a DK weight yarn, in two colours. I have two skeins each of Coastal, a gorgeous bright turquoise, and Festive, a rich purple. Both yarns are tonal, and provide a total of 404 metres (440 yards), which is more than enough for a good sized cowl; in fact, I only needed one skein of each for the cowl, using virtually every scrap, so the rest will make a matching hat.

For this cowl you will need:

101 metres (110 yards) of DK weight yarn in colour1 and 101 metres (110 yards) of DK weight yarn in colour2

4 mm (UK/Can size 8, US size 6) circular needle, at least 40cm long (as long as you like if using magic loop)

5 mm (UK/Canadian size 6, US size 8) circular needle, at least 40cm long (as long as you like if using magic loop)

A stitch marker to mark the beginning of the round

A tapestry needle to weave in the yarn ends

The PDF version of the pattern can be downloaded from my Ravelry Pattern Store. Have a look through your stash, gather your tools together, and happy knitting!

Three-Needle Bind Off

Three-needle bind off is a very useful technique for joining two pieces of fabric. It can be used to create a firm shoulder seam on a sweater, to close the toe of a cuff-down sock (if you don’t want to use Kitchener stitch), or to complete a folded cuff or hem.

It is important not to stretch or pull the stitches too much, and to this end I am using 3 different sizes of needle: the inner cuff has been knit on a 3mm circular needle (brass); the purl bumps are picked up on a 2mm circular needle (dark wood); and the casting/binding off is performed with a 3.75mm double-pointed needle (light wood). The 2mm needle stops the picked up stitches being stretched out of shape, and the 3.75mm needle ensures that the cuff bind off lies flat and is not ruffled.

I shall illustrate the technique using the cuff of a mitten. The mitten has been knit top down, with a patterned outer cuff and a plain inner cuff, the inner cuff has been knit to the correct length for folding under, and the mitten has been turned inside out.

First, you need to pick up stitches around the beginning of the cuff. In the example mitten, these are purl bumps and are quite clear, being the background (white) stitches along the lower edge of a Latvian Braid.

The number of purl bumps to pick up should match the number of stitches to be bound off – in this case, the inner cuff has 60 stitches, so I have picked up 60 purl bumps. Beginning at the start of the round, place the tip of your 2mm needle into the purl bump as though you were purling a stitch, and lift the bump onto the needle; repeat for the second stitch, and so on until stitches have been picked up all around the cuff and you have the correct number of stitches on your 2mm needle.

Next, fold your cuff along the  edge line (this is a round of purl stitches at the fold point, designed to help the folded cuff lie flat) so that the live cuff stitches meet the picked up stitches.

In this photograph, the purl bumps are on the back dark wood needle, the live cuff stitches on the front brass needle. Take your largest needle, in this case 3.75mm (light wood), and put it through both the front and back stitch to knit them together.

Knit these two stitches together, and repeat for the second stitch on both needles. Then pull the first stitch you knitted over the second stitch, as you would do when performing a normal cast/bind off.

Repeat for the third stitch pair, and so on, until all pairs of stitches have been cast off. I like to neaten the join between first and last stitch, by placing my needle through the first stitch bound off, wrapping the yarn around it and pulling through to create another stitch, then passing the last stitch of the bind off over this stitch. Cut the yarn and pull through the last stitch on your needle.

The cast/bound off stitches lie flat and the fabric is unruffled. This gives a nice neat professional-looking finish.

This last photograph shows the right side of the cuff completed, with the Latvian Braid. The join at the first row below the Braid is undetectable.

 

Love Your Yarn Stash

I have been spending some time this Autumn reviewing and cataloguing my stash of yarn, as I have so much now acquired over so many years that I am not fully aware of what I do have. It has been a very worthwhile experience, and has already produced several parcels of yarn donations to Knit for Peace. If you don’t know of Knit for Peace please do check them out, they are a fantastic charity collecting knitted and crocheted items, yarns, and tools, which they distribute all around the world to those in need. Even if you have no items to donate, you can still Sponsor a Sack, perhaps in memory of a friend or loved one, to meet the cost of sending those parcels.

A tiny selection from my Ravelry Stash

I have been using the fabulous Ravelry stash tool to build my online catalogue of yarns, and it has really helped me view my stash in a new light. I already have lots of new ideas for using items from stash, both for impromptu knits and for using my Ravelry queue to suggest yarns to use. If you have not used this function then you really should as it is an excellent stash-busting tool. Here’s how it works:

Part of my Ravelry queue

Ravelry knows which yarns and how much yarn a pattern requires, and if you have a matching yarn in your stash, it suggests it, as in the example of Easy Seas where it has found that I have several colours of Rowan Kidsilk Haze with suitable quantities for this pattern. I can also mark a specific yarn to be used for a pattern in the queue, even if it is not the yarn specified in the pattern, as in the example of Rivendell Smoke Ring cowl, where I have marked a Crystal Palace yarn to be used from stash, as I have no Plucky Knitter yarn.

It is unlikely, but with a little analysis, I could probably knit everything on my queue, and much more, just from the yarns I have in stash! I may never have to buy yarn again (said no knitter ever!)

These two are a discontinued yarn from Louisa Harding called Grace Hand-Dyed. They are a DK weight yarn,  very silky and gorgeous bright colours. I bought them in a sale some years ago, but never used them because I rarely knit in DK and could not think of what to do with them. Having found them in my stash I now have an idea for a new design using them up and giving me something wearable and cosy. Watch this space for a free pattern that may help you use up some items from your stash, too.

 

 

Feather Cap Beanie Pattern Released!

The Feather Cap Beanie pattern is now available from the Granary Knits Ravelry store,

Feather Cap is a stranded knit hat, using ten colours of Jamieson’s of Shetland wonderful pure wool Spindrift yarn. The motif itself and the colours I have chosen reflect the feather patterns and colours of my lovely Cream Legbar chickens: Freddie, Sorrel, Sage, and Lavender. From a distance they look a like a dull brown, but close up, their feathers are a beautiful brown/grey, with touches of cream and pink. The four background colours and six foreground colours reflect this lovely effect.

composite

compositehat

The pattern gives three sizes; teen/small adult, adult, and large adult. In addition to the subdued palette I also provide suggestions for a more brightly coloured palette and for a monochrome colourway in shades of grey.

Many thanks are due to my tech editor, Fiona (https://contact86367.wixsite.com/alittlebitsheepish), and to my lovely test knitters: Jacqui, Larisa, and Madeleine.

I am also working on matching mittens (full mitten and fingerless) and a matching cowl, so watch this space!

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/feather-cap-beanie

beads and semi-precious stones

I have been fascinated by beads since I was a child. When I was little, the coolest thing we girls had was a collection of beads each. We would take them outside to show our friends; sometimes we swapped beads if there was a particularly choice one in a friend’s collection, but mostly we just handled and admired them. The fascination has never left me, even if I no longer play swapsies with them!

 

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Beads of blue and green glass
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Garnet beads made into drop earrings using enamelled copper wire
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Garnets, Amazonite, Malachite, and Blue Banded Agate
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Abalone shell, semi-precious cabochons and nuggets from my Mum’s collection of gemstones
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Various tumbled nuggets from my Mum’s collection of gemstones

My Mum used to make jewellery using semi-precious stones and I joined in, loving the smooth surfaces of Tiger’s Eye and Carnelian, and delighting in the rich colours of Lapis Lazuli and Garnet. I still have the remains of her stock of gemstones and love looking through them and handling the cabochons and nuggets. It is fascinating to learn that the same basic material, for instance beryl, altered by the addition of a range of chemicals and minerals, turns into Emeralds (chrome has been added) and Aquamarine (coloured by iron). Of course, the chemical additions were made millions of years ago and under high pressure, and that fact in itself is wonderful! Beryl is also a semi-precious stone in its own right, being available in a lovely range of pastel colours.

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Pastel coloured Beryl chips
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Blue banded and purple banded agate beads

A few years ago I decided to learn beading in order to make myself some interesting jewellery – I love earrings and have a huge collection. I made bracelets, earrings and necklaces, learned to wire-wrap and to create drop beads ready for hanging from ear-wires. The skill in wrapping wire and making beads into something that could hang elegantly has stood me in good stead when I decided to start designing knitting stitch markers.

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Tiger‘s Eye and Turquoise chips made into stitch markers

Having been a knitter my whole life (and a crocheter since my teens), I have always been interested in the construction of knitted materials, and when I found out it was possible to knit and crochet with fine wire and add beads just as you do with woollen yarn, well there was no stopping me! It is a bit more fiddly than knitting with yarn, but very satisfying to make a small object, such as ethereal earrings or a delicate bracelet.

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New Jade chips crocheted into an earring

Recommended reading: Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann. 5th ed. Sterling NY, 2013.