Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Toasty Volume One

I've published a new book!

It is a collection of accessories I have designed using Titus, a yarn spun in Yorkshire and dreamed up by Baa Ram Ewe. The colour palette is beautiful and I had a lot of fun designing and putting together colour combinations.

There are hats, mittens, fingerless mitts, a scarf and a cowl. Stranded colourwork, cables, lace and texture. You can see all the patterns and buy the digital version on Ravelry here and you can buy the printed book (which comes with a code to download the digital version free of charge) here.

I'll be blogging about my design process, the yarn and each piece in the collection in the coming weeks. If you are knitting any of the patterns I'd love to see pictures in my Ravelry group, we're having a Spring KAL - come and join in!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Scrumptious Collection Volume 3

It's my turn to talk about The Scrumptious Collection Volume 3!

I was thrilled to be asked to contribute, the scrumptious range of yarns are beautiful, the colours are lovely and they are a pleasure to knit with. I swatched and sketched:

These are my designs in the collection:

Photos copyright Jesse Wild.

On the left, the Divelish Hat and Mittens, these start with a twisted stitch and cable rib which leads in to stranded colourwork, we chose natural and charcoal for the pictured sample but you can see an alternative colour choice in the swatch above and Nic has finished a lovely version in blues. 1 skein in each of 2 colours of Scrumptious 4ply is enough for both the hat and mittens.

Top right is the Lerryn mittens, they use one skein of the Scrumptious DK and they are WARM! I used a combination of cables and texture and the palm is patterned as well as the top of the hand. This teal colour is so lovely, I'm going to make a pair for me in slate or chestnut.

Last but not least, on the bottom right are the Kenwyn Hat and Cowl, lace and cables in Scrumptious Aran (my favourite of all these lovely yarns). The hat is the next thing going on my needles and I'm going to pick up 2 more skeins of yarn at Unravel next month for the cowl!

I'd love to see any of your WIPs or finished items in the Coop Knits ravelry group, the SPRING KAL is about to kick off so come and join in! The Fyberspates group is also having a KAL and I positively encourage double dipping!

You can get the book here and the eBook on ravelry here.

All the details of the Blog Tour are here, check out what everyone else has been saying.

The Scrumptious yarn and pattern range is widely available from shops and online retailers around the world. For an up-to-date list of where to find our products, please click through to:

Friday, 8 November 2013

Apples, apples everywhere.....

I've got apple trees in my garden. They are a blessing and a curse. At this time of year I have more apples (and pears, and plums) than I can cope with, as soon as you clear the fallen fruit, a new carpet has formed.

Photo belongs to Rachel Atkinson

I designed a pair of mittens for the Autumn Twist Collective; Apple Catchers. I love working with Twist, they always, always do such an amazing job of styling and photographing the pieces in the collection and these photographs are the most beautiful anyone has ever taken of my work.

Photo belongs to Jane Heller

I look at this photo and I feel happy.

Photo belongs to Jane Heller

There are 2 versions, a shorter version and a more dramatic elbow length pair, the cable appears on the front and the back of the mitten. The samples are knitted in Shalimar Breathless - a yarn I have been very enthusiastic about in the past and I still love it deeply, it's a dream to knit with and the colours and beautiful. (You can now get it in the UK at Loop)

I called the pattern Apple Catchers. It's a reference to my favourite thing about Autumn; the abundance of fruit (I also like the colder weather which necessitates the wearing of copious amounts of knitwear). One of the great things about apples is the baking they prompt; the pies, cakes and puddings that come out of the oven after a Sunday roast. I asked Rachel Atkinson (you can find her lovely blog at if she would whip me up an apple recipe and she very kindly obliged:

Apple Catcher Pudding

Photo belongs to Rachel Atkinson

Celebrate apple season with this delicious pudding; tangy sharp cooking apples stew in their juices underneath the fluffy Apple Catcher sponge topping making it perfect for lazy autumnal weekends curled up on the sofa with your knitting.

600g cooking apples - British Bramleys are perfect at this time of year
75g light soft brown sugar (demerara works fine too)
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
Juice of half a lemon
100g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
100g caster sugar, plus a little extra for dusting
2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
100g self-raising flour

Set your oven to 180°C and place a shelf in the lower third of the oven.

Peel, core and chop the apples into chunks then place in a lightly buttered 2 litre ovenproof dish.

To the apples add the brown sugar, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice, mixing to coat, and set to one side.

In a separate bowl beat the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine followed by the vanilla extract.

Sift in the self-raising flour and gently mix together to a soft consistency.

Spread the cake batter over the top of the apples covering them completely.

Pop in the oven for about 40 minutes, checking after 30 minutes to see how it’s getting on.

Insert a cake tester into the centre to check the apples are cooked; they should retain a little bit of bite but not be too crunchy, and the sponge topping will have bloomed upwards. Sadly it’s likely to collapse on cooling, so quickly sprinkle with caster sugar and eat it whilst still warm dowsed liberally with custard or cream. For a truly disgraceful indulgent treat add a dollop of clotted cream!

Yum yum!

(Apple Catchers are also giant pants, I really have to give credit to Jim for the name of this pattern, on whom I can always rely on to lower the tone - like the time I asked for name suggestions for my sock peacock...)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Among Stones

Among Stones is a collection of 10 designs by Carol Feller, the garments and accessories are all incredibly wearable and beautifully photographed. I love the colour palette Carol has chosen, it ties in so well with the nature and weathered stone at the locations for the photos. One of things I really love about this book is that Carol is modelling many of the pieces, she makes them look so stylish and effortless.

If you'd like to enter the prize draw to win a digital copy of this book (generously donated by Carol), leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite pattern from the book is and I'll pick a winner on 24th October.

The Tourmalite shawl is one of my favourites, it has an interesting construction and the generous size is perfect for the colder weather. Combining a colour changing yarn like Noro with a solid yarn is really interesting, this shawl has larger blocks of solid breaking up the thinner Noro stripes and the little stocking stitch wedges (that remind me of pleats) among the garter stitch.

(Photo belongs to Joseph Feller)

The Liathite Jr is very appealing to me, I've got two boys who are woefully under knitted for and this hoodie would be perfect for both of them (I'll start with the one for the biggest child just in case he does that stupid growing thing while I am knitting and it can be used by the smaller one instead!).

(Photo belongs to Joseph Feller)

I've got to talk about the Pyrite socks, these are sized for children and adults (I don't often make socks for children due to the aforementioned stupid growing thing) and they look great in both solid and variegated yarn. The colours in yarn used for the woman's version make me very happy:

(Photo belongs to Joseph Feller)

You can get the print or digital version (or both!) of the book here.

Ally Pally

I had a fantastic (and exhausting) 4 days at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last week. I was there with Rowan, signing copies of my new book.

I met so many people, caught up with some friends and marvelled at the fantastic clothes many of the attendees were wearing, knitted, crocheted and sewn - the creativity was extraordinary! I started and finished one sock and made a start on the second of the pair during the show:

(Photo belongs to @rowanyarns)

I'm making myself a pair of Mixalot Socks with the leftover sock yarn from the book, I love stripy socks and these are no exception to the rule, I'm looking forward to wearing them.

I spent a LOT of time on the Rowan stand planning what yarns and colours I am going to use to knit most of the garments in this book. I did a little bit of shopping;

Some buttons from Kate Holliday:

Some chunky alpaca from Toft (who are crocheting in the window of John Lewis on Oxford Street for Wool Week):

And a skein of the very lovely Breathless by Shalimar Yarns from the Loop stand, this is one of my very favourite yarns, I have used it in a few designs and it is ALWAYS a delight to knit with. I chose (after a long deliberation) the Silver Sage colour:

Thanks to everyone who came to see me, see you there next year!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Out and About

I had a great time at both Fibre East and Yarndale this year, thank you to everyone who came to see me at either of those events!

It's always great to see everyone at events, both people who come to shows to shop and chat and the other stallholders, here's me and the lovely Debbie from Skein Queen in our matching dresses:

Yarndale 2013

Next week I'll be at Yorkshire Wool Week, I'm teaching a workshop at Armley Mills Industrial Museum on the 17th October - all the details are here. Then I'll be at baa ram ewe Headingley for a trunk show and book signing from 6pm-8pm it is a free knit night event, all welcome- no need to book (Bob the Sock Peacock will also be in attendance).

On Saturday 19th October I'll be at The Knitting Goddess open studio, this will be great fun - keep an eye on The Knitting Goddess blog and newsletter for more details.

I've got my bags packed for The Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace starting tomorrow, I'll be on the Rowan stand - if you're coming to the show say Hello! (and read this blog post for great tips on how to have a great day)

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet Volume II

When I went to TNNA last Summer I met lots of people, one of them was Hunter Hammersen. She's a lovely person with a beautiful design aesthetic and her self-published books are extremely deserving of a space on your bookshelf.

She was nice enough to give me a copy of The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet Volume II to give away, if you'd like to enter the prize draw to win a copy leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite pattern from the book is and I'll pick a winner on 16th October.

The book has 18 patterns, a mix of socks and other accessories, all in beautiful yarns. The patterns are all inspired by vintage prints which are included in the book:

I grew up with some botanical illustrations on the walls, the skill and artistry that went in to these prints is overwhelming, they truly are treasures.

Maybe because it's Autumn and the weather is getting colder, my favorite patterns are these 2 hats:

This is the Delias eucharis hat, that little bit of slouch is perfect and even though this is knitted with a lace patten there is no way this hat isn't going to keep you warm.

I love the photography in this book as much as I love the pattern - the styling and the models are great, I'm a big fan of the happy photo. I think it's a nice juxtaposition to high fashion which quite often seems serious and miserable. As and example of this I show you exhibit A above; the Erasmia pulchella hat. It's an unusual brimless construction, the sample is a beautiful yellow (you know how I feel about yellow) and the model looks like shes having fun!

You can get the book here or the digital version here.