September 15, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

The next pattern in the Knitworthy collection is up and it's one I had so much fun knitting! 

Hediye is a snuggly cabled shawl with a gently curved edging and triangular centre. The edging is worked first, and then stitches for the centre are picked up along one of the long edges and decreased towards the top. The cable patterns on the edging would be an excellent introduction to cabling and a good place to practice cabling without a cable needle. No crossings involve more than a total of 4 stitches and the pattern is intuitive to follow. Short rows are worked into each repeat so that the outer edge is longer. 

Hediye is shown in two colours but would be equally beautiful in a single colour or get creative and play with stripes or colour blocking in the centre triangle. 

Wondering how to pronounce it? Google can help with that! 

Remember the contest to win a copy of the collection for a friend? Well the stories shared were so good that I couldn't choose! Here are a couple of my favourites but everyone who shared a story got to nominate a lucky friend. Yay gifts! If you left a comment and haven't received an email about this please contact us so we can sort out gifting the collection to your friend. 

The funniest story comes from Marie, I just wish there was a picture!: 

My friend Jamie is a huge Madonna fan, and when Madge last played the UK was excited to be seeing her in London. He was of course going to be wearing his kilt - but as Jamie is notorious at getting very carried away wth his 'vogueing', I thought it wise to send him off with a suitable undergarment to save any blushes instead of him going the usual 'commando'. So, I knitted him a pair of boxer shorts in a cool cotton mix, complete with cheeky hand prints emblazoned on the rear. He was suitably thrilled and wore them to the gig and had a whale of a time (they even managed to stay up with no problems, despite his very enthusiastic gyrations). A tired but happy Jamie disembarked from his flight at Glasgow Airport, and wearily made his way to the baggage conveyer to claim h is holda ll. Dying for sleep, he was rather perturbed to find that although he was all but last to claim his luggage, it didn't seem to have appeared. Standing impatiently, he became aware of a strange grinding noise coming from the conveyor. Peering closer through the baggage feed, he saw with a dawning horror that his holdall had split open and the conveyor was jammed - his precious hand knit unmentionables had become lodged at the side of the conveyor and were becoming unravelled in a grisly end. Red faced and extremely ruffled, he flagged down the nearest attendant to his emergency, who immediately arranged for the conveyor to be halted and an engineer called. After over an hour of intense grappling, the engineer managed to retrieve the holdall and liberate what was left of Jamie's pants. With muttered thanks and apologies, he fled from the scene vowing to fly only from Glasgow in future heavily diguised for fear of being recognised again as 'the guy who got his knitted pants s tuck in the conveyor', and swearing solemnly to stick to M & S boring cotton from now on - just to be on the safe side!

Least Knitworthy recipent has to be Heather's sister! 

My sister was removed from my knitworthy list the day I gave her a handknit alpaca blanket and her reaction was, "Oh, we have so many blankets already, that one can go in the dogs' room."

Most loved item is this sweater that Anna knit for her husband: 

My husband is very worthy of handknitted gifts. He is aware of all the time and consideration I put into my knitting projects and he always appreciates a nice fiber and ingenious design. I knit a lot for him, probably more than for myself, and he really wears the stuff I make. One knitted gift has been more loved than the others though. A couple of years ago I knitted him a pullover in yak-yarn for his birthday and he wore it constantly until it nearly fell of his body and was more rags than pullover. I have never ever before felt that something I knitted was so appreciated and since then I have knitted even more for him. Of course I have made him a new yak-pullover, identical to the first one.

Most unfortunate scarf was made by Angela for her dad: 

My story is about my daddy. A real southern man, smart in all of the right ways; a great fixer of things, from boo boo's to radios and cars. A problem solver and good ideas too :)
About 15 years ago now, I started knitting and thought for Christmas every year my parents needed a handknit. The first was hats. Everybody got hats. And I took photos that day of everyone opening their hats, wearing their hats. I never ever saw the hats again. Next year was scarves. I knit everyone scarves. I said "your scarves look great ! I made them to match all of your HATS!" I took the photos of everyone in their scarves. (nobody could recall at the moment where the hats were for a collective set photo). Anyway as I was leaving, I said to my daddy
"please daddy, use the scarf, don't let it sit in a drawer".
There was at this same time outside a billy goat named Booger. Daddy always kept goats and they were forever getting out of the fence- but Booger was certainly the worst. He would get out and eat the neighbors collard patch down to the ground. He would get out and snatch mama's sheets off the clothesline. He would ... etc. He had horns and many times I watched him being chased and then him chasing back his chaser ( it was so funny) . But one day daddy said to me he had 'got Booger good' and he wouldn't be getting back out and you know what he had done? Tied a cloth around a long stick and the n attach ed it to the leather collar around Booger's neck . He couldn't get thru the fence anymore :) You know what that cloth was ? Daddy's scarf ! He said to me " I thought you'd be happy, i'm using the scarf " ..... haha.

And this story from Diane about her generous sons is so sweet: 

I learned to knit while pregnant with my eldest son. I knit this little rainbow bear and he slept with it until he was about 2 and his little brother came along. He gave the bear to his little brother. Now, 6 years later, they have a new baby cousin and they passed the well-worn bear along to her. Who would have thought a beginner project (that is not even well knit!) would be the knitter's gift that keeps on giving!


September 11, 2014 by Rebecca

Supplies needed  — zipper, ribbon, thread, pins, needle, scissors and thimble if you use one

Supplies needed  — zipper, ribbon, thread, pins, needle, scissors and thimble if you use one

First step is to block the cardigan so that the stitches and edges are smooth and there aren't any changes to the size of the sweater after blocking.

Adjust the zipper length if necessary, for wee Carson you want the top of the zipper to be level with the end of the raglan decreases. Instructions for shortening zipper are included in the wee Carson pattern.

Pin in the zipper, trying not to stretch out the edge of the cardigan as you go. You want the stitches to lay flat and remember that the knitting will stretch but the zipper won't!

I pinned in one side first and sewed it in before moving to the second side so I could line up the pattern repeats when I moved to the other side.

Sew down the inside edge of the zipper closet to the teeth, stitch into the gutter between the edge of the colourwork and the I-cord edging.

Sew down the outside edge of the zipper using a whipstitch to tack it down. This edge is going to be covered by the ribbon so don't worry if it's not super neat, its a good chance to practice before moving on to the ribbon.

Sorry you can't really see my stitches, the thread is an exact match to the zipper.

Sorry you can't really see my stitches, the thread is an exact match to the zipper.

Pin and sew in the other side of the zipper, lining it up as best as you can.

When sewing in the second side of the zip I find it easier to unzip the zipper, but I do zip it up occasionally to see how things are lining up.

Ribbon facing

For a very neat finish and so the rough edge of the zipper is enclosed you can cover it with a ribbon facing. For wee Carson the ribbon goes all the way around the edge of the cardigan adding structure to the hood and preventing the edge from flipping out. If your cardigan doesn't have a hood you can sew in a ribbon facing on each edge to cover the zip.

Pin the ribbon easing it in so the outside of the sweater lays flat, leave a few extra inches at either end.

Start sewing in the ribbon closest to the edge of the sweater about an inch away from the bottom and leave the ends of the ribbon until last.  You'll probably need to make some adjustments as you work your way around the hood because it won't have the sturdiness of the zipper supporting the knitting. Then sew down the other edge of the ribbon.

I left the ends of the ribbon until last so I could fold them under and finish them neatly. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of this bit before I left wee Carson in Canada for my niece.

technique thursday


September 04, 2014 by Sarah

I'm sure I can't be the only one to bind off a new hat, tuck in the ends and stick it straight on my head for a trip outside. It's tempting when you have a fresh new hat that you love, but these days I really try to resist! Just like with sweaters and shawls, blocking can make such a huge difference to hats, and just makes me love them even more.

This week I finished up Bronntanas, Ysolda's first pattern from the new Knitworthy collection.  Mine is knit in Malabrigo Worsted in the Frank's Ochre colourway. It truly is a honeycomb hat!  For slouchy hats like this one I use the easiest blocking method; flat, with no pins or wires.  Simply give your hat a little soak in the bath, gently squeeze out the water between towels and then shape flat. This really smooths out the stitches, and makes the honeycomb pattern pop.


And since I had a hat bath set up, I took the chance to wash and re-block one of my other favourites from last winter, Scrollwork by Irina Dmitrieva, from Brooklyn Tweed's collection Wool People Vol.4. This pattern has intricate cables and a beautiful crown pattern which really benefits from blocking, especially when it's a non-slouchy beanie where the crown is really visible. Here's my favourite, but sad-looking hat -


I blocked this a little differently. I used the same soaking technique as for Bronntanas, but instead of laying it out flat I pushed a small plate up inside and stretched the crown out over the flat surface. You can do this as gently or firmly as you like, depending on how open and stretched you like the stitches. If your hat had a lace pattern rather than cables you might like to be a little more firm.  Once I was happy with the crown, I balanced the plate on an upside-down glass to let the sides of the hat hang down, and you can straighten and smooth out the sides here too.


I also love the method of blocking your hat on a balloon! If you have any other favourites let us know about them in the comments. Hats seem to be my favourite kind of project to knit at the moment and it won't be long before I have another little pile waiting for their bath.


September 01, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

Hello September! If you grew up in Edinburgh you'll know that summer officially comes to an end not when the schools go back but with the fireworks that mark the end of the festival. Those were last night, and I had a delightful time watching them from close to the orchestra, complete with a picnic that involved both gin and hot chocolate. Even the rain held off until the spectacular finale. 

New jotters (what we called our school notebooks, I couldn't resist buying myself one last week), reading lists, crisp apples, flannel shirts, snuggling under blankets. I'm excited about all of those things at this turning point in the seasons where I'm still able to forget about the reality of the sun setting at 4pm. The really exciting thing is that knitting season is beginning.

And what better way to celebrate that than with a new collection? One that will last until the days are short, brighten up your Mondays (I know how many of you enjoyed that aspect of the Follow Your Arrow kal) and celebrate keeping those you love warm. 

The Knitworthy collection features 8 patterns intended to make good gifts for everyone on your knitworthy list (because life's too short to knit for anyone who doesn't love what you make). 

The first pattern, Bronntanas, will be available to download immediately and each of the remaining patterns will arrive as a surprise in your inbox every fortnight, on Mondays. 

Bronntanas features a very simple honeycomb cable pattern on a garter stitch background that highlights subtle hand dyed yarns beautifully. Cables and slipped stitches create a three dimensional pattern with shadowed areas that make it look much more complicated than it really is. The vast majority of rounds are simply knit or purl, perfect for last minute gifts or movie watching. 

Pattern delivery schedule:

15 September

29 September

13 October

27 October

10 November

24 November

8 December

Look out for fun extras on the off weeks too. My Whimsical Little Knits collections should give you a good idea of the types of projects to expect. All of the designs are intended to be fun and relaxing with an excellent return of impact for effort put in — there's nothing horrifically complicated coming up. The schedule is clearly timed to lead up to the holidays but there's nothing themed to a specific one (if you were hoping for an ugly Christmas jumper I'm afraid you'll be disappointed but your loved ones will probably be relieved!).

The patterns will be exclusive to Knitworthy until the entire collection has been released. 

I'll be hosting kal threads for each pattern in my kal group on Ravelry and I do hope you'll join us there.

Want one of your friends to join in? Celebrate gifting by winning a copy of the collection for one of your friends. Leave a comment sharing your best story about gifting a handknit and I'll pick my favourite one where the recipient proved themselves truly knitworthy and on where they got themselves struck off the list forever. Comments will close on Friday the 6th of September and I'll post the winners next Monday. 


August 28, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

As this extract from one of Barbara Walker's classic stitch dictionaries shows it's usual to describe a stitch pattern by the number of stitches required to work one repeat (a multiple of 15 in this case) and the number of additional stitches required to create a balanced pattern (in this case 4). This allows you to calculate how many stitches to cast on — the pattern will work out perfectly over any number of stitches that is a multiple of 15, plus 4. Eg. 34, 49, 64, etc...

Looking at the directions you can see that the 4 balancing stitches are worked first and then the pattern is repeated in blocks of 15 until there are no stitches left.

There are a few different ways to phrase directions that you need to work more than once, and it can get a bit confusing — especially as we use 'repeat' as a noun and a verb in knitting patterns. 

As a verb repeat means that after working through a set of directions you need to go back and do it again the specified number of times. 

As a noun repeat means the total number of sets of the phrase that are worked.

In the Fan Shell pattern above if I cast on 64 stitches I would go back and repeat the section 3 times and I'd have a total of 4 repeats. 

Parenthesis vs asterisks

A repeated phrase can be marked in a couple of different ways. Here is the same pattern phrased in two different ways. Parenthesis can be used to bookend the beginning and end of the part that is repeated

or an asterisk can be used to show where the repeated section begins, it will then be referred back to. 

Whether parenthesis or brackets are used is often the designer's personal preference. I prefer to use parenthesis where the phrase is short, as in this example, and the asterisk format for a longer set of directions where you wouldn't be able to visually track the whole repeat at once. 

This round could also be written a little differently. Sometimes it can be a bit confusing when the beginning and end of a repeated phrase combine to create a longer section of the same stitch. In this case you'll be working 'k2' between each set of cables. It could be re-written like this to make that more obvious: 


How many repeats are worked?

A phrase can be repeated until there are no stitches left, as in the first example here, or until a certain condition is met, as in the example above where you keep repeating the phrase until 1 stitch remains. 

The phrase can also be repeated a specific number of times. 

The parenthesis style of marking repeats comes from maths, which means that the number of given is the total number of repeats just like multiplication. 

Whereas if the asterisk style is used you work through the directions once and then go back to the asterisk and work from there again, the specified number of times. Both of these examples have the same number of repeats. 

Nested repeats

Having different options for marking repeats becomes really useful for more complicated patterns because it means you can nest on kind within another. In this example a short repeat is marked within parenthesis and that is within two larger repeats marked at beginning and end with asterisks and double asterisks. 


August 22, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

#Tweedback Brooklyn Tweed are running a contest to celebrate kids in handknits - tag your photos on instagram with the hashtag #tweedback before August 25th for a chance to win some great prizes. Read the full rules in their post, and check out all the cute, and sometimes very quirky, retro knits by searching the hashtag. 

Spot the knitwear designer!

Design a shawl that Stevie Knicks will love! It's hard to picture Stevie Nicks on stage without the iconic ponchos and shawls that have become an integral part of her performance and she's running a contest to celebrate the magic of those garments. Most of the chatter I've seen about this on social media led me to believe that the artist was just trying to get fans to make her a shawl so I was thrilled to read in the linked Rolling Stone article that it's much more about encouraging design and craftsmanship with a generous prize package. Respect. 

Killing marine life with crochet - If you're going to yarn bomb things to raise awareness of endangered habitats maybe don't destroy a delicate ecosystem and the creatures that are part of it in the process. And when asked about it, you definitely shouldn't respond like this: "my intentions were positive and that's the most important thing about my work". No, no it really isn't.