Snake’s Heid

The sinuous pattern and lacy “head” for this hat was developed during my City and Guilds Handknit textiles course, and originally formed part of a table runner. But the image of the snake’s head would not lie still, and eventually I had to turn it into a wearable accessory.

Aran, DK and 4ply hats

The result is a cosy beanie/toque style hat, which can be knit in fingering/4ply, DK, or aran/worsted weight yarns, in a large range of sizes. I knit the samples in 3 different blends of wonderful Blacker yarns – Lyonesse 4ply, Tamar DK, and North Ronaldsay Aran.

4ply slouchy
DK Beanie

The pattern for Snake’s Heid can be purchased from the Granary Knits Ravelry Pattern Store.

Votic Hat

Today sees the publication of my latest design, the Votic Hat. I have been very fortunate in having a preview of the lovely new yarn from Blacker Yarns, Cornish Garden, launched on 20th September 2019 as their 14th birthday yarn.

This is a beautiful soft woolly yarn in a gorgeous range of colours, and I have been delighted to provide a pattern knit in this yarn.

Slouchy broken striped hat seen in side view

The design is based on a fragment of knitted material found during an archaeological dig in Estonia. The fragment dates from the 13th century and is believed to be from the cuff of a mitten. I have taken part of the motif shown in the fragment and created an unusual broken striped hat, which knits up perfectly in the 3ply/light fingering weight of Cornish Garden.

Thank you to Sue Blacker for giving me the opportunity to design with this lovely yarn.

The Votic hat pattern can be found in the Granary Knits Ravelry Store.

Feather Cowl pattern published

Feather Cowl complements the Feather Cap Beanie and Feather Mittens patterns previously published. It is worked in the round, in stranded colourwork, 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 flock of hens.

The pattern can be purchased from the Granary Knits Ravelry store, either as the single pattern:

Feather Cowl l

or as part of the Chicken Knitting e-book containing all four patterns:

Chicken Knitting 1:

Diagoniella Cowl Pattern Now Published

The textured design for this pattern sprang from my research into the fossils found at the Burgess Shale fossil site in Canada, a wealth of amazing plants and creatures which lived in the pre-Cambrian seas over 500 million years ago. Diagoniella was a protosponge, tubular in shape but with an intriguing diagonal skeletal structure which just cried out to be turned into knitting!

Short Cowl in Sublime Cotton Silk DK

This cowl is designed to suit everyone. The textured pattern is understated but detailed enough to be interesting, and the deep moss ribbing ensures that cold winds are kept firmly away from the neck. It can easily be turned into a deeper cowl/snood by adding more vertical repeats of the pattern; it is written for knitting in the round. It was designed for someone who cannot tolerate wool next to the skin, and the yarn suggestions are both cotton blends that give excellent stitch definition. The cowl/snood can be knit in any DK weight yarn which has good stitch definition.

Snood in Rowan Softyak DK

Instructions are given for three sizes, a short cowl 25 cm (approx. 10”) tall; a medium cowl 40 cm (approx. 15 ½”); and a snood 55 cm (approx. 21 ¾”).

The pattern is available in the Granary Knits Ravelry Store.

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!