Monthly Archives: March 2016

Diamond Wristers

A reworking of an old pattern, now available in an additional longer length, with a better flow of cables and ribbing. Click on either photo for more images.

The cable pattern is fully charted and the wristers are fully adaptable for longer or shorter hands, narrower or wider thumbs. Written instructions accompany the cable chart, explaining how to work the cuff, top and thumb gusset.

The pattern is sized for average adult hands (circumference 6.5”/16cm, length 7”/18cm) but it can be adjusted by altering your gauge.

Yarn requirements:

  • 220-230 yards fingering weight/4-ply/sock yarn for the longer, gauntlet length
  • 120-160 yards fingering weight/4-ply/sock yarn for the shorter, wrister length

Available on ravelry for £2.50 (for customers within the EU – VAT added at checkout).

So, how does designing work?

I hang out a lot at ravelry and a question that often comes up is ‘How do I get into pattern designing/writing?’. I can only answer for myself, but this is a little about how the designing process works for me.

I got into pattern designing because there were things that I wanted to make, but there was no published pattern for me to work from. At this stage I had been knitting for a few years and was comfortable with a variety of different techniques, construction types and had worked from a range of different pattern styles.

As I worked out what I needed to do in order to make the item, I took notes (particularly helpful if you are making a pair of something such as socks or gloves and want them to look the same). This including sketching, and swatching, and ripping out and starting again over and over. After all of the work of checking gauges and trawling through stitch dictionaries it seemed a shame for that work to be lost with the completion of my project, so I typed it all up into a pattern style that I was comfortable with and so my first pattern was available for publication.

My first few patterns were all self-published for free, and no testing was undertaken prior to release. These days I utilise the various groups on ravelry in order to test patterns for accuracy and also for yardage and fit information. It’s a great way to get feedback and work out the kinks, without having to spend a lot of money on testers or tech editors. It also helps to see how other people interpret instructions which seem clear to you.

There are a range of different pattern styles, from the extreme hand-holding where every stitch and every step is described in detail (often with photos and videos as well), which can be great for beginners, right through to charts which show all of the necessary shaping with coloured borders or ‘no stitch’ squares, leaving interpretation up to the knitter.

My patterns fall somewhere in-between. They won’t tell you exactly which cast on or bind off to use (except that it might need to be stretchy), and if I don’t think it’s going to be particularly visible I might leave it up to the knitter to decide whether to mirror increases and decreases or not. But they do include a key of stitches used in the pattern (though not full instructions as to how to make each one, there are plenty of tutorials for that out there already).

I like to include two versions of the pattern instructions, so once a pattern has completed testing (which usually takes at least a month depending on the amount of knitting time required for the item) and the instructions are locked down, I make a printer-friendly version without the high-resolution images and coloured text. In this version I try to fit the instructions most economically onto the pages so that people can print the absolute minimum, saving both ink and paper. The high-res version is great for those working from computers and tablets, allowing them to really zoom into the images for any clarification.

I am still designing primarily based on things that I want to make, taking inspiration from commercial items, other knitting patterns, fabric, yarn, fibre, etc. I may look to move from self-publishing (on ravelry) to selling to magazines, but that will require working to a brief, a more rigid format both time-wise and style-wise, so we’ll see.

Maximising yarn usage: stripes

An easy way to maximise your yarn usage, if you’re trying to use up stash, is to combine two different yarns into one item. The easiest way to do this is with stripes. If you don’t quite have enough for the item with just one of your yarns, pair it with another to get the total required yardage.

Stripes work best with simple stockinette based patterns, as they really show off the colours without getting lost in lace or cables.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/zebra-tee

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/zebra-tee

You can also work with garter stitch, such as this short row shawl which combined two handspun yarns that didn’t have enough yaradage on their own to make much, resulting in a good-sized crescent shawl.

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/pendulum

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/pendulum

If you are looking to maximise your yarn usage by using stripes, try to make sure that your two chosen colours have a good contrast between them so that the stripes really stand out well. Also make sure that your yarns are the same weight (fingering, dk, aran, etc.) and if making a garment to be worn have similar fibre contents so that they will work up together at the same gauge and won’t distort with wear (a cotton yarn may stretch more than a wool yarn, so unless you want stretched out stripes stick to just the one fibre type).

 

 

Maximising yarn usage: working top down

As part of my personal challenge to only knit from yarn already in my stash this year I am working with a lot of handspun and want to squeeze every last yard out of my yarn. A great way to maximise your yarn usage is to work top down patterns.

For example, I worked this Still Light tunic from the top down:

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/still-light-tunic

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/still-light-tunic

The sleeves were divided off and left on holders after I finished the yoke, so that once I was happy with the length of the body I could go back and, dividing the remaining yarn in half, complete the sleeves for as long as the yarn lasted. The scraps I had left after completing the sleeves were used to deepen the pockets.

Alternatively, if sleeve length is important, then you can complete the sleeves to their desired length first and then work the body until you use up all of your yarn, as I attempted with this jumper (but still had yarn leftover without turning it into a dress):

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/zebra-tee

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/zebra-tee

 

Cold Sheep 2016 – February progress

Another good month of progress in my 2016 stash down challenge.

I knit a tunic out of 1,526 yards of handspun

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/still-light-tunic

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/still-light-tunic

I spun 200g of moorit coloured Shetland yarn into 606 yards of 2-ply sport weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/moorit-shetland

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/moorit-shetland

I also knit an infinity scarf out of 540 yards of handspun yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/spring-lace-infinity-scarf

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/spring-lace-infinity-scarf

Another 200g of Shetland fibre, this time in a grey colour was spun up into 862 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

 

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/grey-shetland-top

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/grey-shetland-top

More handspun (630 yards) was knitted up into a short-row shawl

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fak/pendulum

Another 210g of Shetland fibre was spun into 716 yards of 2-ply fingering weight yarn

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/black-shetland

http://www.ravelry.com/people/fak/handspun/black-shetland

 

Total monthly yarn out: 2,696 yards
Total monthly yarn in: 2,184 yards

Net monthly yarn reduction: 512 yards

Monthly fibre stash reduction: 610g.


 

Total yarn out year-to-date: 4,106 yards
Total yarn in year-to-date: 2,950 yards

Net yarn reduction year-to-date: 1,156 yards

Fibre stash reduction year-to-date: 810g.