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January Store Update

We have some lovely stitch markers available at the moment, whether your taste runs to charms, gemstones, or a mixture of both. I am always on the look out for new beads and gemstones; if you don’t see exactly what you want in the Granary Knits store, there is a good chance I can find it for you, just email me. Here are a few of my new markers, available in both crochet and knitting .

Gemstone beads are my favourite markers; they come in a bewildering variety of stones, some shiny some frosted, in every colour and size you could want. I concentrate on 8mm and 10mm beads for stitch markers; the 8mm beads make a perfect small marker, and the 10mm beads workbeautifully as special end of round markers.

Frosted Snowflake Obsidian is my new favourite gemstone bead. Every stone is different, and the matte frosted finish means that each “snowflake” on the surface of the bead stands out in perfect detail. Both Crochet and Knitting markers are available singly in store now.

Jade is one of the most beautiful gemstones; it has been used in jewellery and carved ornaments for nearly ten thousand years. Jadeite is the most expensive with delicate colouring and semi-translucent appeal, but Nephrite is also rather lovely. Nephrite is found principally in Western Canada, with lesser deposits in China, South-east Asia, New Zealand, and parts of Europe. The colours found in Nephrite range from creamy yellows to dark greens. The beads I use are in the pale to mid green range. They are 10mm in diameter, and make perfect special end-of-round markers. Both Crochet and Knitting markers are available singly in store now.

Rainbow Fluorite is another gemstone that comes in a variety of colours. My favourite combination is the most delicate of pale greens and the loveliest of purples. These colours always remind me of Spring. In the Rainbow Fluorite markers I offer in the shop, I have used 8mm round beads topped with 6mm bicone beads; I try to ensure that one stone is purple and the other green. Both Crochet and Knitting markers are available in store now.

Another beautiful matte gemstone is the Veined Jasper, a new find for me. Again every stone is different, featuring black on white, white on black, and wonderful shades of grey. Both Crochet and Knitting markers are available in store now.

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley Pattern

Another new pattern from me, a lovely semicircular shawl called The Wind That Shakes The Barley. It was inspired by the Irish folk song, and features ears of barley blown hither and thither. It has an interesting construction, being knit from the bottom edge of deep picot-tipped scallops to top, but despite the complicated-looking cast on it is a quick knit in DK weight yarn.

The pattern was first published in Knit Now magazine in March 2020.

Available now in the Granary Knits store, https://granaryknits.co.uk/product/the-wind-that-shakes-the-barley-shawl-digital-download/ .

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Temperature Blanket for 2021

I’m always looking for a new project for the New Year, and this year’s project will truly span the whole 365 days. I am going to knit a temperature blanket to reflect the weather where I live. But this won’t be the usual square or rectangle; it is a Temperature Pi circular blanket, based upon the principles laid down by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and I should be delighted if you would like to join me in this enterprise.

To begin at the beginning, you need good data for your locality. I am enormously lucky in that I have an electronics geek for a husband; he created a garden weather station for me some years ago, and since the station outputs its data to a website, I have everything I need to begin. Alternatively, you could use the BBC Weather website or other weather app to gather data. I have prepared an Excel spreadsheet for you to use in gathering data. It is certainly not too late to start.

As well as temperature, I have been recording the predominate weather condition each day. The blanket I have designed can be knit in two ways; you can use just the temperature for each day’s round, or you can add in an indicator of the weather condition to the temperature. I have done this by holding both the temperature yarn together with a strand of fine yarn such as Rowan Kidsilk Haze, to knit each round. This gives a lovely haloed warm texture, as well as a subtle colour modulation.

The second requirement is a good selection of colours for your temperature range and your weather indicator. I selected a palette of 9 temperature colours to range from -5°C to 40°C, in 5 degree increments; you may need to adjust your range based upon where you live; if you generally have temperatures lower than -5°C but never get above 30°C, then alter your range accordingly. I selected seven weather indicators – sun, overcast, rain, wind, fog, snow, and storm (which could be a combination of wind and rain, or wind and sun where I live) – and chose colours to reflect these from the Kidsilk Haze range.

Lastly, you need a pattern to help keep you on track. The Excel spreadsheet helps in keeping track of the day numbers and dates, the pattern gives colour and yarn suggestions, as well as details of increase rounds. There is a pretty lacy edge, charted and written, for the month of December to look forward to. The free pattern has been tech edited, and is available together with the spreadsheet by clicking here.

My progress so far on the blanket looks like this; you can see the marled effect of using the weather indicator thread together with the temperature: Small beginnings, but it will grow!

If you would like to be part of a community of knitters working on the blanket, then please follow @sb97979 (Granary Knits) or @veg_grower on Twitter, or @GranaryKnits on Instagram; post pictures of your progress using the hashtag #TempPi2021.

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New in store – Knitting Patterns

If you are a knitter or crocheter, you will no doubt have heard about the controversial new design of the Ravelry website. For many dedicated and enthusiastic users of Ravelry, the site has become unusable, and so in solidarity with the crafters who are unable to buy patterns from Ravelry any longer, I am making my patterns available here in the Granary Knits Shop. These patterns are downloadable pdf files, and can be bought either singly or added to a basket of goodies. I am gradually adding the patterns to store; just go to Shop and select the Knitting Patterns category to see my pattern catalogue.

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New in store this week

We have been busy this week discovering new and exciting charms and gemstones to turn into lovely stitch markers. We hope you like the new additions to the store, all of which are available as both knitting and crochet markers.

If you liked our Sheep markers then you will adore the Tiny Sheep we have found for you.

Our Forest Theme continues with the addition of an Owlet to complement the Owl marker and Deep in the Forest marker set.

The Frosted Veined Jasper markers are stunning; every bead is unique, a lovely veined pattern in shades of grey, and the matte surface makes these markers a sophisticated addition to your crafting toolset.

In addition to our cat-shaped charms and hearts and paws charms, we have added this sweet outline paw marker. A great gift for a pet lover.

Finally, for this week, we have added to our range of marker holders/project bag charms with this lovely silver plated outline cat.

Don’t forget, for individual markers the 20% off voucher still applies until the end of February. Just enter coupon code FJG87WW5 when checking out.

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February Shop News

Spring is almost here, even in West Yorkshire! I have already spotted Iris and Primulas flowering in the garden, and the birds are starting to build nests.

Spring is Sprung is my celebration of the season; a set of mixed bead, charm, and gemstone markers, available as either a knitting or crochet set.

The Flower Bud and Purple Banded Agate markers in this set are also available as individual markers.

February is also a time to celebrate Love on St Valentine’s Day. I like heart shaped motifs and charms, and use them a lot, so you will find plenty of examples of hearts and love charm markers in the shop. Here are just a few:

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New Granary Knits Shop is Live!

The Granary Knits Stitch Marker Shop has moved from Etsy to a new home, and is now open for business! This move gives us flexibility, visibility, and a chance to bring you lots more lovely stitch markers, as well as old favourites. New markers like this Carnelian bead marker:

Or a holder to keep your stitch markers safe when not in use:

Or old favourites, such as the Sheep marker:

Visit Shop at Granary Knits to see our full range, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with new products.

You will receive the same great service: dispatch within 3 working days of placing your order, a secure large-letter posting box to ensure your markers reach you in a perfect state, and the markers presented in a pretty cotton drawstring bag handmade by me and wrapped in tissue paper.

Little cotton storage/gift bags, made from quilting fabric

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Sock Yarn Mittens

My second free pattern, designed to help you use up oddments from stash,  is for full mittens with gussetted thumb and an interesting ribbed cuff. This pattern was part of my Love Your Stash Challenge for 2019, in which I aimed to use yarn from stash for a series of simple accessories.

It is knit from the finger tip to the cuff, incorporating the pre-knitted thumb as you go, and uses any standard sock yarn.

You will need:

Any standard sock yarn (I used Regia for the sample , but West Yorkshire Spinners Signature Sock would also be a good choice). If you only have small quantities of multiple different sock yarns, use them up by randomly striping, or use different colours for the thumbs, cuff, or finger tips.

Your choice of circular needles or dpns (or AddiCraSyTrio Sock needles!) in the following sizes:

2.00 mm [UK/Canada size 10, US size 3]

2.25 mm [UK/Canada size 11, US size 2.5]

Stitch markers

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Waste yarn

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

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Wild Geese Hap

Did you know that a group of geese on the ground is known as a gaggle, but in the air, flying in V-formation, it is known as a skein? I love the idea of geese and yarn being connected in this way.

Wild Geese flying into the sunset over our house

Wild geese fly over our house every Autumn, sometimes just one or two, sometimes in huge skeins of a hundred or more birds. They gather around our local reservoirs, ready to move off to their winter pastures. Their flight and call has long been a source of inspiration to me, and feeds into my sense of place in this landscape of dry stone walls, small streams and becks, hills and reservoirs.

The Wild Geese Hap is my response to this Autumnal landscape. Its texture denotes the skeins of geese in flight, becoming gradually larger as the hap grows, divided by ridges forming the dry stone walls, and ending with the ripples on the surface of the reservoirs, in the colours of the Canada Goose. The hap can be finished with either a plain cast off, or a knit-on edging in a triangular lacy design which looks uncannily like the wing of a goose in flight.

Wild Geese Hap blocking on a hap stretcher

The pattern for Wild Geese Hap is available from the Granary Knits Pattern Store. It features two sizes, a 2m square hap or a 1m square lapghan. It is knit in scrumptious aran/worsted weight yarn in lovely natural colours, and in the round from the centre out. I used Daughter of a Shepherd Ram Jam and Castlemilk Moorit DK (which knits up as aran weight) yarns for both the hap and the lapghan. I love the sheepiness of the DoaS yarns, their wonderful bloom when they have been washed and dried, the natural colours of sheep, and the sheer warmth of the finished item.

Blanket size

Both sizes of the Wild Geese Hap are worked from charts, from the centre out. The blanket size is shown above with the lace border; the lapghan, shown below, has been finished with a very stretchy simple cast off, which accentuates the rippled edging and the points at the corners.

Lapghan
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Knitting on a Lace Edge

A knitted on lace edging is a neat and beautiful way of finishing a shawl or blanket of any size or shape. It involves provisionally casting on for the edge, and, as you knit the lacy edge, gradually incorporating the live edge stitches from the shawl. The incorporation usually takes the form of using ssk (slip, slip, knit) to slip one edging stitch and one shawl stitch, then knitting them together through the back loop. The join is performed on every right side row, so one shawl stitch is bound off for every two edging rows knitted.

I shall illustrate this with a sample using the edging of the Wild Geese Hap (pattern available from the Granary Knits store), a square blanket with a pretty garter lace edging.

The setup up

The pattern for the edging will tell you how many stitches to provisionally cast on; using a length of waste yarn, cast on the required number of stitches. There are lots of tutorials on Youtube for provisional cast ons, some use crochet chains, some knit a few garter rows in waste yarn; experiment to find the one that is best for you.

Identify the point on the edge of shawl where you will be starting, right side facing unless otherwise specified. The pattern should tell you where this is but will probably be the point where your live stitches start. In the example below, on the Wild Geese Hap, I start 1 stitch in from the corner and work one side first before I come to a corner.

the ‘blanket’ (left) and the provisional stitches (right) positioned to begin joining

Using the working yarn for your shawl/blanket, work the first row of the edging until you reach the last stitch; the chart will probably show this as a ssk. Slip the last stitch of the edging knitwise, then slip the first live stitch you will be working on the shawl, also knitwise.  Place the tip of the left-hand needle through the front of the two stitches on the right-hand needle, so that the needles are positioned as though you were about to knit them together through the back loop; knit them together through the back loop. You have made your first join stitch.

the slipped stitches ready to be knit through back loop

Turn the work and continue with the second row of the edging; this will almost certainly start with slipping the first stitch with yarn in front, which helps the edging to sit neatly and twists the stitch creating a decorative join.

First 2 rows of the edging completed

You will find, as you work, that you are knitting the edge on in an anti-clockwise direction around the shawl; it is possible to work clockwise, but most patterns for this type of edging will work anti-clockwise, because it is simpler.

1 edging repeat completed

 

1 side of the ‘blanket’ edging completed

Turning a corner

If the shawl or blanket you are working is circular, you will just carry on working the edging until you reach your starting point then graft the two edges together. If your shawl is triangular or square, however, you will have to turn the corner, and this will involve working extra edging repeat(s) in order to make a smooth turn. In the case of the Wild Geese Hap, the pattern has an obvious spine stitch marking the corner; I use this and the stitches either side of it for 1 repeat of the edging, i.e. I bind off 3 blanket stitches instead of 7. This is done by working multiple edging joins into 1 blanket stitch; here I work 2 into the first of the 3 corner stitches, 3 into the spine stitch, and 2 into the third blanket stitch.

Begin by working the first 2 rows of the edging as normal, joining into the first of the 3 corner stitches;  on row 3, when you reach the point of joining, slip the first stitch, then put the needle into the previously worked blanket corner stitch and lift it up so that you can knit into the back of the two loops.

working into the 1st corner stitch for a second time

Continue with edging rows 4 and 5, joining into the corner spine stitch; continue with rows 6 and 7, until you reach the join stitch; slip the first stitch as usual, then put the needle into the previously worked corner spine stitch and lift it up so that you can knit into the back of the two loops.

1st working into the corner spine stitch

 

2nd working into the corner spine stitch

Repeat, so that you have 3 edge joining stitches into the one corner spine stitch.

Continue with the edging rows, and repeat the joining of two edge join stitches into the third corner stitch on the blanket.

joining into the third corner stitch

You should now have completed one repeat of the edging pattern turning the corner, binding off three corner stitches.

the complete turned corner

The hap corner on the blocking frame

Joining the end to the beginning

Once you have completed all the edging repeats and all the shawl/blanket stitches have been bound off, it is time to complete the edging by joining the live stitches to the provisional cast on.

For an invisible join, use Kitchener stitch/grafting; alternatively you could perform a three-needle bind off but this will leave a ridge on the underside of the shawl/blanket edge.

If you enjoy working Kitchener stitch, then this will hold no fears for you. If you don’t enjoy Kitchener stitch, well there is some good news – garter Kitchener is much much easier than stocking stitch Kitchener! Just to be on the safe side, I put a lifeline through the live stitches and through the cast on stitches (I didn’t need it but it was worth doing for peace of mind!). Also, I practised on a couple of samples, shown below in green yarn. It may seem like a lot of trouble to go to, but it ensured I did not make a mess of my edging when I came to do it for real.

If you prefer to see a video tutorial, then I found this one very helpful: https://www.knittinghelp.com/video/play/grafting-garter-kitchener-stitch

The trick, with garter Kitchener, is to ensure that your two rows of stitches are aligned properly.  You are going to be creating one additional row, therefore, when knitting your final edging repeat, you omit the very last row of the repeat as this is the row you will be creating with Kitchener stitch. You work on the right side of the knitting throughout.

The first step is to undo the provisional cast on, and place the stitches from the first row of the edge onto a needle. The needle should be facing the same way as the needle holding your live end stitches. I began, as you can see, from the blanket end and worked out to the pointed edge. The calabash pins are there purely to mark the right sides for me.

Top piece is the end of the edging, lower piece is the start of the edging, right sides facing you

Cut your working yarn leaving a very long tail, at least 3 times the length of the seams to be grafted, to ensure you do not run out. Thread the tail onto a blunt-ended needle (mine is purple as you can see).

First the set up: Put the sewing needle tip through the first stitch on the lower needle, purlwise, and pull the yarn tail through. Leave the stitch on the needle.

 

Put the sewing needle tip through the first stitch on the upper needle, purlwise, and pull the yarn tail through. Leave the stitch on the needle.

 

Now the repeated stitches start: Put the sewing needle tip through the first stitch on the lower needle, knitwise, and pull the yarn tail through. Take the stitch off the lower needle.

 

Put the sewing needle tip through the first stitch on the lower needle, purlwise, and pull the yarn tail through. Leave the stitch on the lower needle.

Put the sewing needle tip through the first stitch on the upper needle, knitwise, and pull the yarn tail through. Take the stitch off the upper needle. Then purlwise through the next stitch on the upper needle and leave the stitch on the needle.

Continue in this way, until all stitches have been joined. The mantra for garter Kitchener stitch is:

Lower Needle:
Knit and slip off, Purl and leave on.
Upper Needle:
Knit and slip off, Purl and leave on.

The completed graft on the hap blanket, in between the two pale blue lifelines, is invisible and lies flat.

I hope that you found this tutorial helpful and will be encouraged to try knitted on lace edges.