30 Jun 2022

A postcard from Sweden – Time for Midsommar!


Midsummer in Sweden

It has been a busy time for us so far this summer, with travels to both the UK and now to Sweden! It is so wonderful to be able to travel again after two years at home and lovely to catch up with friends and relatives in both countries. 

Midsummer in Sweden

We arrived in Sweden just in time for the big Midsummer festival which involves music, folk dances and the raising of a huge Midsummer pole at various locations. We visited Sundbyholm Castle just to the west of Stockholm for the event and enjoyed watching the large Midsummer Pole being lifted into position in front of the lake. 

The pole is in the shape of a cross with two circular rings below and is usually completely swathed with leaves and flowers. Sometimes flags and ribbons in the Swedish colours of blue and yellow are also attached for extra colour.

It was quite an effort for the team of pole raisers, with everyone calling out encouraging "Ehhh-Up!" shouts as it was lifted up. Then when it was up and bolted into place, a huge cheer went up from the large crowd of on-lookers.

Midsummer in Sweden

The pole was not the only thing decorated with flowers, as many people had beautiful flower garlands on their heads too. Even the local ponies giving rides up and down the shady avenue of trees had flowers braided into their tails.

I love the wildflowers over here. Every path and road has flowers alongside in a profusion of colours. Farmers even sow wildflowers in a wide strip around their fields to provide a habitat for bees, nesting birds and other wild creatures. It gives such a wonderful colour to the edges of the fields.

Flowers are especially important at Midsummer as it is said that if you gather seven different types of wild flowers on Midsummer night and place them under your pillow, then you will dream of the future love of your life!

Weymouth Shoulder Bag by Moira Ravenscroft / Wyndlestraw Designs

So what have I been working on during my travels? Well, I have been so enjoying using my new Weymouth Shoulder Bag that I wrote about in my last blogpost so I decided to line a few of my other bags! The lining for the Weymouth Shoulder Bag was so simple and easy to make so I wanted to use this idea for other bags too. It certainly produces a sturdy bag that can carry a lot of weight.

I love stretchy bags that can expand to whatever size of awkward packaging a supermarket can devise, but being able to carry a couple of cartons of milk or orange juice home is a real benefit too.

So I cut some fabric before we left on our travels and set to the other day to attach it to my BYOB Market Bag. I really like the way this turned out, so I am going to see if I can rustle up a couple of photos for next time.

Until next time – enjoy Mid-Summer wherever you are!

Moira





1 Jun 2022

A new shoulder bag for the summer

Weymouth Shoulder Bag by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

I love knitted bags. They're great for teaming up with all kinds of different outfits for a totally unique look. 

So for the up-coming summer season, I have designed a new bag with crisp cotton yarns in strawberry, apricot and lemon ice colours. As soon as I held the yarns together I was reminded of summer holidays down on the beach, with raspberry ripple lollies and lemon ice pops from the ice cream stand – always a high-point of the day. 

And that's the inspiration for the new Weymouth Shoulder Bag, named for Weymouth Beach in the south of England with its long arc of golden, powdery sands and, yes, yummy ice cream!

Weymouth Shoulder Bag by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

The bag features long knitted shoulder straps and is a great size for a summer tote, with space for all the little extras for a day at the beach. The handles are also a generous width so the bag is comfortable to carry on your shoulder.

Both the bag and the straps are lined with a co-ordinating cotton fabric to make a lightweight but sturdy bag which can be used for either a handbag or a tote. 

Weymouth Shoulder Bag by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

The Weymouth Shoulder Bag is worked in Embossed Check Stitch from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. This is a strong stitch with a distinctive patterning and texture, so is a good choice for bags such as this. The stitch is also easy to work, with sharply-defined colour transitions for the different colour stripes.

The shoulder straps are worked in a co-ordinating pattern, Double Moss Stitch, which gives an interesting contrast of texture and patterning.

Southampton Collection by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

The Weymouth Shoulder Bag is available as a stand-alone pattern or as part of the Southampton Collectionwhich now has patterns for five fabric-lined bags!

Full step-by-step knitting and sewing instructions are included in the pattern and it is available for immediate download from my website.

If you would like to read more about our Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book and see examples of other double-sided stitches included in the collection, then please click here


Until next time, happy summer knitting!

Moira





22 Mar 2022

Knitting for the change in seasons


Ennismore Lap-Rug by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

We travelled from Florida to Massachusetts a few years ago, pausing along the way in Georgia, North Carolina and Washington DC. We arrived in Georgia just as the first daffodils were opening, and followed a wave of nodding yellow daffodils and delicate pink blossoms as we meandered up the east coast of America. By the time we reached Washington DC, the Mall was filled with cherry blossom and crowds were enjoying the Spring sunshine.

And it feels just like that time now. Our sole azalea is in full bloom, despite Florida being about the southern limit of where it can happily live, and pals in the UK are posting photos of the first snowdrops struggling through the earth. Spring is definitely on its way!

May (Hawthorn) blossom

However, although it can be pleasantly warm in the sunshine, you still need extra layers for later on in the day! There's an old Yorkshire saying:"Don't cast a clout 'till May is out", which roughly translates as "Keep your winter clothes to hand until the May (Hawthorn) blossoms in the Spring."  

And that certainly still seems good advice for this time of year – to have a cardigan ready when you're going for an afternoon stroll or a soft blanket to throw over your legs when you are watching TV in the evening. 

Ennismore Lap-Rug by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

So here's a blanket which is perfect for this time of year: the Ennismore Lap-Rug. This is a lovely light-weight reversible blanket and is easy to work. 

I originally made this blanket about five years ago but I recently updated the pattern to add an extra middle-size, so the new version now has three different sizes. The small blanket is perfect as a lap-rug for someone in a chair or wheelchair and would also work well to keep you warm on long car journeys.

The two larger sizes provide some extra coverage when you want to relax with your feet up at the end of a day. The medium version is a good size for a TV blanket or afghan while the large size can be used as a cozy guest room throw. 

Diagonal Furrows from Reversible Knitting Stitches book by Moira Ravenscroft & Anna Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

The blanket features a really pretty stitch called Diagonal Furrows from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. This has a strong diagonal patterning which resembles a newly-ploughed field. 

Textural patterns such as this are important at this time of year because they add warmth without weight – exactly what you need when the temperatures are just a touch below the comfort zone. 

Ennismore Lap-Rug by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

All the sizes are worked in a soft superwash yarn so it is easy to launder and look after. An added bonus is that the yarn is available in a wide variety of colours so you can easily make several versions of this pattern. 

Please click here to see more details about the Ennismore Lap-Rug pattern, and here to read more about our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. Both the book and the pattern are available for instant download from my website.

Until next time, Happy knitting!

Moira




26 Nov 2021

New men's scarf pattern – the Petersfield Scarf


Petersfield Scarf Knitting Pattern by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

It is so good to be finally able to think about winter travels.... After so many months at home, the idea of donning a thick winter sweater and heading for the hills is blissful. 

As a knitter, I have found this quite inspiring as there's not a lot of need for winter woollies in Florida! However, the mere thought of biting northerly winds has made me dig out my needles and yarn.

However, before I started with any of my own knitting I remembered that my husband, Tim, has been asking for a new scarf for ages. I had a look in the yarn stores and found a wonderful soft mid-grey to contrast with a deep wine-red – his favourite colours! 

This is Cascade 220 Sport, which is a lovely soft 100% wool yarn. The red is called Burgundy and the grey is Charcoal Grey. The combination gave the perfect degree of contrast for the striped design I had in mind.


Petersfield Scarf Knitting Pattern by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

I also wanted the scarf to be squishy and warm, so I opted for using two ends of a thinner yarn together rather than one thicker one. I am finding that is almost my go-to method these days. I love the way this builds extra warmth into a scarf or hat plus also opening up the possibilities of using a single strand for a matching pair of gloves. 

If you would like to read more about the delights of working with two ends of yarn held together, then please have a look at my "Seeing Double" blogpost series from earlier this year here.


Petersfield Scarf Knitting Pattern by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

For the scarf I wanted a reversible stitch with a lot of texture and character, so selected Granite Stitch from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. This is an easy stitch to work but has such an interesting texture and depth. 

You will probably have seen me mention before in my blogposts that reversible stitches tend to lay flat, but this one is exceptional in that even the edges are firm and do not roll. This means that I could run the pattern right to the edges for a very modern look. 

That also makes it easier to work, of course, because there is no border to be worked at either edge. In fact the only stitch that has to be worked differently is the very end selvedge stitch! This makes the pattern good for working on while you are travelling or when you are with other people in a group on holiday get-togethers.


Petersfield Scarf Knitting Pattern by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

I designed the scarf with a graduated stripe pattern, so that the scarf ends are worked with a lighter stripe effect and then the strong wine-red colour bands increase in density towards the centre. This central thick-and-thin banded repeat brings a strong colour focus to the neckline fold or wrap, framing the face and adding extra interest to the central neck area.

The finished scarf as shown here is 23cm/9 ins wide and 183cm/72 ins long, so is a good length for wrapping around the neck. I have also included instructions for two other sizes in the pattern:

 a shorter slimmer scarf: 20cm/8 ins wide x 156cm/62 ins long, 

and a larger one: 25cm/10 ins wide x 183cm/72 ins long.


To read more information about the new Petersfield Scarf please click here. The pattern can be downloaded instantly from the site so you'll be able to start your knitting straight away.


I hope you are able to travel or get together with your families this winter – complete with needles and yarn to knit your next winter scarf!


Until next time, happy knitting!

Moira


16 Aug 2021

New Pattern – the Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap


Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

It's almost the end of summer! It's amazing how fast this year is going, isn't it. We are currently in Sweden and enjoying the last of the long summer days and clear blue skies.

"Sweden?" I hear you ask. Yes, indeed! The borders were opened at the end of July so we rapidly organised flights to catch up with our daughter and son-in-law and meet our gorgeous new grandson, now 10 months old. And yes, he truly is gorgeous and I am, of course, only marginally biased about that! If you would like to see a photo of him from back in January, please click here.

I have also been enjoying knitting along with Anna and seeing her future projects taking shape. There's nothing quite like knitting with your daughter to bring a sense of normality back into the world. I hope everyone else reading this can enjoy similar moments with their families very soon.

Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

In the meantime, I have been finishing up my latest pattern, the Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap and it is now in my website shop here. The pattern includes instructions for three different sizes to give a slim scarf in two lengths or a lovely draping wrap which would be perfect to complete an evening ensemble.

The photos show me wearing the new wrap and I have to say I really love this. It is a perfect weight – warm enough to take the edge off a cool evening outside, yet with a soft silky drape that adds a special touch to any outfit.

Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

It can worn draped elegantly over your shoulders for an evening at the theatre or a stroll along the embankment. However, it looks equally good if you wrap it around your neck for a little extra warmth!

The pattern also includes a slim scarf in two different lengths, which would give the perfect finishing touch to a casual jeans outfit.

Reversible Knitting Stitches book by Moira Ravenscroft & Anna Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

All the items are worked in a beautiful reversible stitch, Darlington Lace, from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. The stitch is light and airy with gently curving ribs separated by vertical bands of eyelets so it resembles a cool waterfall.

Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

The top and lower borders feature a beautiful co-ordinating ribbed pattern which looks like a row of lily flowers. This gives extra interest to the ends and also adds a little extra weight, making them hang perfectly.

I worked the wrap shown here in a lovely dusky blue bamboo/merino yarn, but it would also look gorgeous in other colours. I could imagine this in a stunning white for a summer bridal party, or in a pale apricot to accent a holiday outfit.

Looking ahead to the winter too, I could see the scarves in a deep red colour or stunning Midnight Blue to drape under the lapels of a jacket for a holiday gathering.

Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

If you would like more information about the Darlington Lace Scarf and Wrap, please see my website here. I hope you are enjoying the end of summer where you are and that you are all keeping well.

Until next time, Happy knitting!

Moira

Reversible Knitting Stitches book by Moira Ravenscroft & Anna Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

Last Blogpost: Summer is here!



16 Jul 2021

Summer is here!

Darlington Lace Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

Wow - I didn't mean to be away from blogposting for quite so long! I thought I would just get my sewing machine out and have some fun sewing for a while and now I see it's quite a number of weeks since I last posted....

However, it has all been highly productive as I now have quite a number of new items in my wardrobe and a much smaller amount of fabric in my stash, which is always a good outcome.

Mind you, I had forgotten just how much space sewing takes up. I seem to have commandeered almost every flat surface in our house. The dining table is now a cutting table and our breakfast area by the window has a sewing machine and an overlocker to either side of my workstation. All I can say is that it's a good job I have a wonderfully understanding husband who is happy to go with the flow.

However, I haven't abandoned knitting and have been finishing off a lot of items just waiting for some final touch or other. It's amazing how long projects can wait just for a seam to be finished or some ends sewn in, isn't it!

Kimpton Scarf and Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

In addition to those distractions, I have been going through my old knitting patterns and updating a number of them. I was so impressed with the new charting software that we used for our last revision of our Reversible Knitting Stitches book, so I wanted to use that for the rest of my patterns. That has also given me the opportunity to add some extra notes where appropriate and check all the links are up-to-date too.

The photo above shows one of the patterns I have just updated, the Kimpton Scarf and Wrap – and just in time for some summer knitting! With the kiddies breaking up from school, summer holidays beckoning and the arrival of the hot summer days, this is a great project to work on right now - lovely cool yarn to knit with plus a scarf or wrap you can use straight away for cool summer nights or eating in an air-conditioned restaurant. Perfect.

FFCT Wrap by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

Having seen to the Kimpton knitting pattern, I then went on to update two of my other wrap patterns as I so love wearing these. The first of these is the FFCT Wrap, beautifully modelled by our daughter Anna in the photo above. This has a touch of merino in with the cotton and gives a wonderful touch of warmth just when you need it.

Scottswoos Stole by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

Then I also updated the Scottswood Stole pattern which can be worked in either a sportweight baby alpaca or a DK merino to keep you cozy when the temperatures start to dip again, although it's hard to imagine that right now I know!

Do contact me if you have purchased any of these patterns and would like the latest versions for your library. I'll be happy to send them out to you.

Kassiopi Scarf by Moira Ravenscroft, Wyndlestraw Designs

I have also just added my newest pattern, the Kassiopi Scarf, to both Ravelry and LoveCrafts (formerly LoveKnitting), so if you'd like to add that to your Rav or LK project library you'll now be able to link it in directly from there.

The pattern includes three widths in some lovely zingy summer colours to pep up your summer outfit. You can also find this on my website here and in my Etsy store.

Then lastly, I have been working on a new pattern, the Darlington Lace Scarf & Wrap pictured at the top of this post. I have been wearing the wrap from this pattern lots already and have found it perfect for an extra touch of warmth at the end of a day. The pattern is now on my website here, and I will post more about this next time.

Until then, have fun with your summer knitting!

Moira


21 Apr 2021

New vertical format for our Reversible Knitting Stitches book!


Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book by Moira Ravenscroft & Anna Ravenscroft, Vertical Format, www.wyndlestrawdesigns.com

Firstly, thank you everyone for the lovely messages you sent me about the "Seeing Double" blogpost series. I am so pleased that was helpful and that you all enjoyed it. I certainly like working with two strands of yarn and it was fun for me to put the series together.

Also, many thanks for the response to our expanded Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book that we completed last Autumn. It was good to have such an enjoyable project to work on during the lockdown and to have a positive outcome after such a difficult time for everyone. 

Blanket by Anna Ravenscroft, Kiku Knits using Lace Squares from Reversible Knitting Stitches by Moira Ravenscroft & Anna Ravenscroft, www.kikuknits.com

Both Anna & I loved the challenge of finding 50 new stitches to add to the collection! Anna has been using these to make all kinds of items for her new little baby including this delightful blanket using one of the new stitches that we added to the 2nd Edition, Lace Squares.

One of the messages I had recently was from a lady enquiring if we were planning to add a vertical format edition of the E-book as her iPad was set to portrait mode. I tend to flip my iPad whichever way it needs to be, but I can understand that if you're a dedicated book reader it might be better to keep it in that orientation.

I am always happy to oblige, so we have been working on this for the last few weeks and are happy to announce that it is now ready! I thought it might take ages to reformat the book but in the end it was a comparatively easy job to do, so I was able to get back to her fairly quickly.

Reversible Knitting Stitches by Moira Ravenscroft & Anna Ravenscroft, www.wyndlestrawdesigns.com

So how do the two versions compare? Well, in the new Vertical Format E-book, each stitch has its own page with photographs of both the right side and the wrong side of the stitch plus charts and line-by-line instructions. Individual pages can be bookmarked or printed out onto A4 or Letter-sized paper for later reference.

The Landscape Format E-book has a horizontal lay-out to suit both lap-tops and computers. The information for each stitch is split across two pages, with the photos and stitch details on one page then the chart plus line-by-line instructions on the next. 

The pages are also set with a larger font size so the details can be easily seen on smaller devices such as mobile phones. This is especially useful when you are at a cafĂ© knitting group or yarn store when you might not have your tablet or iPad with you.

You can see more photographs and sample pages of the new Vertical Format book here, and a gallery of pages from the Landscape Format book here.

Both versions are available for immediate download from my website, so if you haven't purchased the book yet please go there to order your copy. Links to both versions will be sent after purchase so you can download whichever format you would prefer, or if you would like them both then that is fine too!

If you already have the current E-book and would like a copy of the Vertical Format version, then please contact me and I will send you a new download link.

Also, if you would like to to read more about Anna's new baby blanket pattern, the Buttercup Blanket, then please click here.

Until next time - Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira

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