Thursday, 31 January 2013

Stash Gone Wild

Get 50% off Stash Monster patterns for the first week of February. £1 for a single pattern, or get both for the normal price of one.

The offer runs from midnight tonight until midnight 7th February.

Stash monsters are quick and fun to make. Using DK the finished monster is 6 inches tall and uses just 100metres (109 yards) of various wools. For more monster ideas, see the ravelry projects for these Stash-busting Stash-eating little critters. 

What lurks in your yarn stash?

Left Leaning Decreases and Ladders

Experiment time. I need a left leaning decrease to be paired with a right leaning K2Tog

From the bottom we have:
SSK. Slip as if to knit, slip as if to purl, put left needle through the front and knit. Mine never look tidy.

After the blue line we have:
K2TogTbl. Doesn't match the K2Tog at all, and the ladders are spectacularly bad between the two stitches.

After the Red line we have:
SKPSSO. Slip as if to purl, knit the next stitch and pass the slipped stitch over it.
Neater then the previous ones. Definitely wins the speed award as the simplest to do. Edit - those are slipped as if to purl.

After the Black line we have:
SYTK Slip, Yank, Twist and Knit courtesy of the TECHKnitter.

A close up of those - look how well they match up against the K2Togs. There is still a ladder between them, but those knit stitches are parallel and smooth at least.

Now to see how I can tweak the stitch pattern to minimise those ladders.

First experiment will be to change the rate (decrease every third instead of second row) and tug on that yarn like it was a life-rope.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Experimenting with pattern grading

Following from some chatter in the Budding Designers Group over on Ravelry, I've started putting together a  spreadsheet to grade Sweater sizes.

At present it only does a knit-in-the-round, smooth increased sleeve up to the underarm level but I have a lot of functionality I want to add to it. It does however spit out the numbers into something resembling a knitting pattern - such as this:

Cast on 30 (30, 32, 36) 38 {38, 38, 38} stitches

Cuff instructions of choice for 14 rows
Change needles and start with stitch pattern of choice
Increase at the start and end of every 4 (3, 3, 4) 3 {3, 3, 3} rows
Until you have 70 (76, 80, 82) 86 {88, 92, 94} stitches
Work an additional 22 (33, 33, 13) 33 {30, 28, 25} rows

You can change gauge, ease (overall), make ease changes to targeted measurements (armhole depth for example) and change cuff length, and it will recalculate and format the above pattern extract in seconds. 

It's available to see on Google Docs: Sweater Calculator.

Guide to the sheets: 
Todo = stuff for me to do for the next version 
Inputs = where you put in ease and gauge. Currently only white cells are used. 
Result = from to-fit-size to actual-size to sleeve calculations. turquoise = actual fit, tan = rows (as opposed to stitch counts) pink = a control check of some form, green = going into the pattern itself 
Pattern = formats the green numbers on the Result tab into written pattern format 
Sizing = the base sizes I used and source links.

Comments/feedback/requests are always welcome! 

Socks from a jumper

I do love the way knitting ideas can be re-used and re-purposed. The stitch pattern in these started from an idea for waist shaping a jumper. Now it's going to be socks.

I also get to play with my new favourite technique - tubular cast on in the round. It's so much neater than the cable or backwards loop cast ons I used to use.

Front view
Back view

The wool is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Red Rover. I'm thinking of calling them Rib goes a Roving socks... but  Martian Rivers also sounds pretty apt.

Monday, 28 January 2013


Pattern available for £2.50 from my Ravelry Store

A curved scarf that can be worn multifarious ways. Wrapped around, the garter stitch provides warmth at the neck whilst the lace gives a delicate edge. Worn more traditionally as a scarf, the short rows create a gentle ruffling effect.

The pattern includes a blocking schematic and offers the option of charted or written directions.

478 - 526 yards (437 - 481 metres) of fingering/4ply weight yarn required.
A preview of the pattern is available here.

Stash monsters to knit or crochet

Available from my Ravelry Store for £2 with an automatic 50% off the second pattern if you buy both.

Link to buy the knit versionlink to buy the crochet version

Of unknown origin, Stash monsters are magical creatures that live in yarn stashes, consuming that yarn you can’t for the life of you work out why you bought, and “producing” the yarn you wish you had. Or at least I wish they were.

They can be made with a wide range of yarns,
Fingering/4ply weight yarn will need approximately 71 yards (65 metres) up to Aran weight which requires approximately 142 yards (130 metres)

The pattern directions are written, previews are available for the knit version and the crochet version.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Bouncing along with a Beach Ball

I finally wrote up Beach Ball Shawl. This is the one mentioned in the to do list post here. A rectangular shaped shawl with a knitted on border, the bold stripes of the central panel work wonders with variegated yarns.

The sample shown was made with Softee from artists palette yarns. This particular colour way moves from cream to dusty pink to brown with very short colour repeats.

It's being tested right now by the wonderful Free Pattern Tester Group over on ravelry, and should be available for sale in early March.

Following on from that will be a hat and cowl, the hat  pattern is written for two sizes and I've made one, the cowl will take another 40 minutes to write up. I need to order more wool though, to make the cowl, and to give the hat a finishing touch. The sample hat was made with  Rico Design Organic Pure Colour Chunky in a blend of sheepy colours (cream and beige) but I'm being tempted by manos del uruguay wool clasica in either Eros or Ariadne colours. It's grey and miserable looking outside so I seem to be craving brighter colours than usual.

Two patterns written, another design has all the maths/stitch placement work done, all in all not a bad week!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Perseverance is a virtue

Whoever says that "perseverance is a virtue" has never continued with something despite that sensible little voice in their head saying "not going to work, start again".

There's perseverance (eventually I will make this idea come to life) and then there is just plain pig-headedness (if I completely ignore all the things I don't like about this project, it will all work in the end due to the force of my persistence).

Tomorrow? A shawl that was 3/4 finished will be hitting the frog pond with an almighty splat.
and let's not mention the fully written pattern I have for this monstrosity.

Friday, 18 January 2013

To do list

Look at that poor lonely little monster, he needs a friend
  1. Make a knitted version of Sir-Stash-a-lot
  2. Cast on for the 2 year old design so I can work out the needle size I originally used
  3. Finish writing up the new shawl design (over half-way done)
  4. Watch out for questions from my testers.
What I'll actually end up doing (if I'm not careful)...
  1. Drawing designs for Mark I, Robot Crafter. A slightly bonkers character I dreamt up last night.
  2. Looking out the window at the snow!
Update: Sir Stash-a-lot isn't too sure about his new friend.

Yay Snow!
Snow Monsters!
It's all fun and games until someone takes a snowball to the face!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

ISO Self Discipline

I have a design that's so close to being an actual pattern, I could almost print it.
2 years ago I came up with a new stitch, and incorporated it into a scarf and a shawl.

I have all the notes required except the needle sizes used. No big problem, I have enough left over wool to swatch and work out what it is.

So why is this what I have to show for my knitting today? A brand new, not even sure it'll work out as a concept, design.

Procrastination, spell it!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Multifarious, a problem of self-promotion.

I uploaded my first pattern  for sale on Ravelry yesterday: Multifarious Scarf

I'm proud of it, and some of the comments have brought a happy little tear to my eye, but I still have a problem to solve.

To me, the design is only one part of what I'm offering for sale. And not even the most important part. I want knitters to enjoy making this. I certainly don't want them pulling their hair out, gnashing their teeth or having to beg for help because they can't understand it.

But, how to prove this, as a new designer? 

There have been suggestions to offer a free pattern. But is a free pattern for a simple headband really going to convince anyone that I can describe lace in both written and charted form? I suspect not.

So I'm trying out a little experiment. Below is a link to a pdf I created from the actual pattern. It includes all the materials, notes, and schematic, but just a couple of lines from the written pattern and chart. 
Multifarious Sample Update 18/1/2013, the file is now hosted by me. No more google-docs.

I'd love to know people's opinions on this. Does offering a free view of part of the pattern make you feel more confident in the actual pattern? Is it a waste of my time and hosting space to do this?

If you care either way, let me know with a comment here or PM on ravelry.