Thursday, June 8, 2017

New pattern: Leadlight

It's always exciting when I can finally share one of my secret projects! Today Leadlight gets its big reveal, as part of Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 11. This is my third Wool People outing, and the third of my designs in Brooklyn Tweed's wonderful yarn (the first two being my Amarilli and Kea shawls).

Be sure to browse through the WP11 lookbook, which is completely gorgeous! I like to save them up until I have a little uninterrupted time to soak up the inspiration. :)

Leadlight, photo by Jared Flood

Leadlight is a rectangular stole in laceweight yarn, featuring large-scale geometric lace. I was inspired by the image of sunlight streaming through glass panes, and the memory of a small geometric stained-glass window I had in my room which my Dad had made (picture framers are good with glass, after all).

(Photos by me, before I sent Leadlight off to the USA.)

The lace is simple to knit, while the construction and finishing methods keep things interesting: beginning with a circular cast on, the centre of the stole is knit in the round as a square. After placing some of the stitches on hold, the two ends of the stole are each knit flat to create a rectangular shape. Finally, a garter stitch border finishes off the edges.

The centre of the stole, worked outwards from the pinhole cast on

The garter stitch border keeping things crisp

Vale is a new laceweight yarn from Brooklyn Tweed, a springy, plied yarn that's light and soft, but substantial and full of personality. It blocks easily and drapes beautifully, which makes it just perfect for lace knitting.

I knit my Leadlight stole in the colour Heron, which is a calm, neutral, mid-toned grey with a subtle sheen to it. The whole Vale colour palette is beautifully subtle - I definitely plan to use this yarn for more lace projects!

A close-up of the centre

Features:
  • an all-over geometric lace pattern
  • constructed from the centre out, with two sides extended to form the rectangle
  • a circular cast on (instructions for the Pinhole Cast On are included)
  • a garter stitch border all around the edge
  • a stretchy bind off (instructions for the K2tog-tbl Bind Off are included)
  • easy to alter the length by working a different number of repeats
  • requires 3 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Vale, or 1170yds of laceweight yarn
  • the lace instructions are presented as charts only.

Drapery studies...


You can purchase the pattern for Leadlight on Ravelry, or from Brooklyn Tweed's website. Their Summer of Lace KAL is coming up very soon, beginning later this month.

Monday, June 5, 2017

How to work a Picot Bind Off

I love a picot bind off on a shawl! The little picot-bumps along the edge add an extra dose of lacy prettiness, and it's also a nice and stretchy method, which makes it perfect to use with lace. Two of my shawl designs call for a picot bind off: Budburst and Liquid Honey.

Budburst (pattern available on Ravelry)

Liquid Honey (free pattern available at Knitty.com)

The picots are created by casting on a few extra stitches, and then binding off normally to the place you want your next picot to be. Casting on more stitches creates a larger picot, and binding off more stitches spaces them further apart.

I made a short one-minute video showing the method I used for my Budburst shawl, casting on 2 extra stitches, then binding off 5 for each picot:


The picot bind off does take longer than a plain bind off (because of all the extra cast on stitches), but it's not difficult - as long as you keep counting! My favourite tip for counting bind-off stitches is to count each stitch you lift over.

Another brilliant thing about a picot bind off is that when you come to block your shawl, you can thread your blocking wires through each picot - which is much quicker and easier than catching each stitch beneath a plain bind off. Like so:


Blocking wires are seriously the best. :)

Saturday, June 3, 2017

It's Makealong time!

I've teamed up with nine other knit and crochet designers and five indie dyers to produce a collection of summer accessory patterns, the Progress, Hope, and Happiness collection. My contribution is the Budburst shawl, a profusion of leafy lace in a pretty speckled yarn which was dyed specially for the occasion (you can find out all about it in my previous post).


One of the designers, Denise Voie de Vie, created this beautiful look book for the collection:


You can read about the inspiration behind the event and our journey in putting it all together on Denise's blog here and here. The designs are individually published by each designer, but you can see the whole collection here on Ravelry: Progress, Hope, and Happiness Designs.

I'm co-hosting a Makealong for these designs from June 1st to July 16th, complete with prizes and even some surprises. I hope you'll join us!

These are a few of my favourites from the collection:

Breeze of Happiness by Tanja Osswald


Dusk On TheMoor Shawl by Solène Le Roux


Chiguroo by Lana Jois


From Dusk To Dawn by Christelle Nihoul

This has been so cool to be a part of, and the Makealong is just beginning! Hope to see you over in the Ravelry group. :)

Friday, June 2, 2017

New pattern: Budburst

Who's ready for more lace? I've just released a new asymmetrical shawl, named Budburst for its leafy lace pattern and the magical way it blooms during blocking. I think it's the prettiest thing I've made in a long time. :)


Budburst's stitch pattern blocks out into light and delicate leaves, but during knitting it forms a really cool bobbly texture. The transformation from bobbles to leaves reminded me of leaf buds unfurling in spring.

The gently-speckled yarn is a fingering-weight Merino Single in 'Dawn', by the Swiss dyer Sidispinnt. I adore using single-spun yarn for shawls, as it holds its blocking really well. I find plied yarn can bounce back again over time, especially if it has a tight twist like some sock yarns. I'm seeking out singles and silk-blend yarns for my shawls more and more these days, to make sure I get a really nice drape.



Dad and I took these photos above the Ōhope hill during my April trip to New Zealand - we found the perfect grassy paddock with flowering mānuka bushes and a view of the beach down below. The one downside was the thistles, which kept managing to spike me through my jeans!



Features:
  • an all-over lace pattern of delicate leaves
  • intuitive stitch pattern, with 'rest' rows on the wrong side
  • an optional picot bind-off (see my tutorial here)
  • knit sideways from point to bind-off edge
  • easy to scale up or down by altering the number of repeats
  • requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn
  • suitable for speckled, semi-solid, or gradient-dyed yarn
  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.


You can see all the details and download the Budburst pattern on Ravelry.

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This design is part of the Progress, Hope, and Happiness collection, a celebration of summer from ten designers and five indie dyers. I hope you’ll join us for the make-along, which runs from June 1st to July 16th!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Simple lace: a love letter

I have a confession to make. Relatively simple lace made up of basic stitches is one of my favourite kinds of knitting! I love to look at complex lace as much as the next knitting-obsessed person, but I really enjoy the process of knitting simpler lace. It just flows off my needles! And you can do a lot with simple lace stitches, with a little inspiration.

I've designed a few scarves and shawls that fall into this category of deceptively-simple lace, most recently my Hextile Wrap:



Its basic elements are garter stitch with some areas of yarn-overs and k2togs, and once you get the gist of the pattern you really don't need to check the chart/instructions very often. The speediness of simple lace means you can see the shapes emerging quickly, which is really satisfying. I find it keeps me wanting to knit "just one more repeat"...


Two of my lace shawls which I think also hit this sweet spot of simple-but-satisfying are Folia Crescent, which has a nice small easily-memorised lace repeat, and Silverwing, which has a closely-related lace pattern elongated into feathers.



Keeping to the bird theme, I have two more examples in my Tailfeather scarf and Kea shawl. Once again, one of these stitch patterns is a variation on the other. Simple stitches; endless possibilities!

These two designs aren't quite as straightforward, since their vertical ribs mean no 'rest' rows on the wrong side, and they also require the occasional double decrease stitch in addition to knit/purl/yo/k2tog/ssk. But they do share my favourite characteristic of simple geometric lace in that you can always tell what comes next, just by looking at your knitting.



I'll be casting on a new simple lace shawl tomorrow. :)