25 Sep 2020

Room for one more....

Reversible Knitting Stitches – Lace Squares and Waffle Stitch, Photo: Anna Ravenscroft, www.kikuknits.com

 Yay! The new edition of our Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book has now been published and we are so pleased to be able to bring this to you after so many months of working on it!

You may recall that since January we have been adding new stitches to the book ready for a new expanded 2nd edition. So don't laugh, but can you guess what we were doing in the last few days before publishing this...?

Well, that would be adding one new stitch, two more versions of existing stitches and two more project examples! So the 2nd edition now has 253 stitch entries + 11 stitch variations to give a grand total of 264 different stitches! 

Golden Days Dress Set by Anna Ravenscroft, www.kikuknits.com

And here's one of the extra projects we have just squeezed in – isn't this adorable? This is the Golden Days baby dress set which Anna has just finished. Anna is producing some wonderful baby items right now. Clearly impending motherhood is giving her a wonderful creative burst. If you haven't had a chance to see her recent work, then do pop over to her website to have a look.

Both the dress and the nappy cover / diaper cover are worked in Waffle Stitch which gives a lovely textural feel to the set. You can see Anna's sample for this stitch in the photo at the top of the page, along with another new stitch in the collection, Lace Squares.

So with this new project example that gives a grand total of 81 photos throughout the book! Many people have said to us that they find it useful to see how the stitches can be used, so we hope this expanded set of project examples will be valuable to spark some ideas of your own.

I'll be back next time with more details about the E-book. In the meantime, you can see a gallery of sample pages from the new edition here, and you can purchase a copy here.

Until then – Happy Knitting!

Moira




Many thanks to Anna for her lovely photos!
Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com

26 Aug 2020

New pattern – Beckenham Ladies Scarf


I love knitting in cotton at this time of year. Florida is just way too sticky for working on wool projects, especially if you are trying to knit outside! Plus, I always feel the need for some new cotton knits for the end of summer. And have you noticed that the evenings are getting cooler? Even the hottest of days can feel slightly chilly when the sun dips below the horizon. Autumn is clearly just around the corner. 

So here are three cotton scarves to help bridge that transition – perfect for days down at the beach or meeting up with friends for an afternoon picnic in the park. 

And perfect, too, if you are unable to wear wool. There used to be such poor options for non-wool yarn but things are much easier these days, with a wider range of options and on-the-dot fashion colours.


This is the Beckenham Ladies Scarf and it features a wonderfully textured reversible pattern from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. The stitch is called Seeded Chevron and I used a variation of the same stitch for a scarf pattern for men, the Beckenham Scarf. It is one of my favourite stitch patterns in the book and I have enjoyed working on some new items to co-ordinate with the men's version.

These new scarves have a softer, more feminine touch with neat seed stitch edges and a pleasing symmetrical patterning. The top and lower edges blend the seed stitch into the chevron pattern for an interesting end feature. The photos show three scarves using either a 100% cotton or a cotton/Modal yarn and the stitch really shows up well with these yarns. However, the same pattern could also be worked in a soft merino wool for an autumn or winter scarf.

The green and blue scarves feature deeply-incised chevrons interlaced along the length of the scarf. This has been achieved by using a single pattern repeat across the width of the scarf which gives a wonderfully dynamic design

The green scarf is in a Sportweight cotton/Modal yarn which gives a lovely draping fabric for a long, slim-line scarf. The aqua version, meanwhile, uses a 100% cotton yarn in an Aran / heavy worsted weight yarn. This is so soft and cozy! I made this version a little shorter and love the way it drapes around your shoulders to keep away the evening chills. 


The third scarf uses the same 100% cotton yarn but this time in a gorgeous soft apricot colour. I absolutely love this shade. It's a colour that was featured strongly in a number of the fashion shows for Summer / Autumn 2020 and it's easy to understand why it has become so popular. It's not a colour I have worn much in the past, but I can see some fun shopping ahead for some new items to go with this scarf.

This version has two repeats of the chevron design which gives a wonderfully balanced, symmetrical look. The result is a wide statement scarf with just the right degree of coverage for bare shoulders in a cool restaurant. 

And of course, all the scarves are fully reversible which makes them easy to drape, wrap or tie in place.  


For more details about the Beckenham Ladies Scarf, please click here. The pattern is available for immediate download from the website.

Also, to read more about our Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. We are busily working on the new update of the E-book and are getting very excited that this will be launched in just a few weeks' time! 
 
By the way, if you would like a copy of the print book, then there are still a few copies available before it goes out of print. Please click here if you would like to buy a copy now. Also, please let us know if you would like Anna to sign your copy before sending. 

Until next time, keep happy and keep smiling!

Moira



Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com

Many thanks again to my husband Tim for his great photos! 
Find more of his photos here.

12 Aug 2020

In with the new, updating the old ...


A quick update on the new edition of our Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book! Thank you so much to everyone for your great comments and e-mails after my last blogpost announcing the new edition. I am so pleased that everyone is as excited as we are to have 50 new reversible knitting stitches in the collection, so there will now be 250 stitches in total!

Anna and I have been on the look-out for exciting new reversible stitches since the start of the year and it's great that we have been able to add so many new examples to the book.  We never expected to get to such a grand total and hope you will enjoy these new additions. The photo above shows one of these, Granite Stitch, and I have really enjoyed working on some winter knits using this pattern.

Editing for the new edition is progressing at a pace and we have just completed another major task, which was to update every one of the stitch charts in the book! As you can imagine, that was quite a big job. However, there has been such an improvement in the software we use for drawing up stitch charts over the last few years, so we wanted to incorporate that into the E-book. This is, of course, doubly important since tablet and phone resolution has improved markedly over the years, so we wanted to make sure that all the charts were really crisp and easy to read.

So all being well, we will be on target to release the new edition of the E-book in September. We will, of course, send this out as a free update to everyone who already has the first edition so you can start using it as soon as it is ready. I’ll post more details here when we have some better idea of dates.


However, all of this work has highlighted the issues involved with trying to maintain the print version. The logistics for printing and mailing were already starting to prove difficult before the Coronavirus pandemic, since neither Anna nor I now live in the UK where the books are printed. However, Covid-19 then added further difficulties with extended shipping times and ever-changing export / import restrictions. 

So we've decided that the current print run of the book will be the last. We do still have a few print copies available, so If you would like to purchase a copy please click here. If you would like to read more details about the book and to see a sample Flip-book, then please click here.

Just as a note, if you would like to buy a print copy of the book now as a Xmas present but would like the E-book link sent closer to the date then please let us know so I can add your friend / family member’s name to the “Christmas List”. 

Hoping everyone is keeping safe and healthy. I’ll be back soon with news of some cotton scarves I have been knitting!

Until next time

Moira



Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com


Many thanks again to my husband Tim for his great photos! Find more of his photos here.

26 Jun 2020

It started with a placemat...


I'm back with news about an update to our Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book! You may recall that back in January, Anna and I set ourselves the challenge of adding 20 new stitches to our E-book for 2020. The idea had come to me when I was making a new set of placemats as I had been playing around with different stitch variations and loved the new stitch that I ended up with. 


It was only a minor change in the stitch chart from one of the stitches in the book but the final result looked so different! The front face had a strong cellular pattern while the reverse side showed smooth undulating ribs – just perfect for placemats and coasters.

I e-mailed Anna and said how I'd love to add this to a new updated E-book, and we got to wondering if we could find some others. Of course, what we didn't know at the time was that the Coronavirus lockdown was about to happen and a full program of travelling was going to be cancelled... 

At first, there was a tremendous disappointment at so many plans being abandoned and that awful feeling of helplessness watching the news unfold around the world. However, in the end I was grateful to have such a fun project to focus on during the extra time at home.


So I got my knitting pins out and made sure I had a large basket of wool by my side and Anna did the same over in Sweden. Then we had a chat about what we wanted to achieve with the new additions. 

We decided to focus on 4 areas: Firstly, we wanted to add some more easy stitches so beginner knitters could extend their range and produce great knitted projects without having to concentrate too hard. 

Then secondly, we wanted to add some more examples of colourful reversible stitches. These are, of course, the Holy Grail of knitters since it is so hard to make multi-colour items that really look good on both sides. We did have some examples in the 1st Edition but we wanted to make sure we had a few extra ones to add to the new update.


Then thirdly, we had received a number of requests for more lace patterns. It is easy to understand why, since lace is so often used for shawls where both sides are on show. The 1st Edition had quite a good selection of lace and mesh designs, but there's always room for more! 

Then lastly, we thought the cable chapter was a bit 'thin' before so we wanted to add a good number of additional cable samples. We are very pleased with the new ones and I am excited to try some of them out for warm winter scarves and sweaters.


So, ... drumroll ... the 2nd Edition will have 250 stitches in it!! Yey! We are so pleased to have been able to add so many new stitches, and hope that everyone enjoys the extra examples we have included. 

We were only hoping for an extra 20 but the ideas really started to flow once we got down to it. In fact the book actually has 253 entries but we thought "250 stitches" sounded better in the title!


We also added lots of new project ideas, so that there are now over 75 project photos scattered through the book. Most of these new ones are from Anna, and I love having more of her playful colourful designs showing the range of projects that can be worked with reversible stitches.

We already have all the photographs taken and the pages formatted so the book is now going through editing. We hope to complete that stage in perhaps another month or so, all being well. So we are currently on target to have this up and ready by the autumn. 

We will send a free update of this new version to everyone who has already purchased either the E-book or a Print-and-digital package as soon as it is available. If you would prefer to wait for the new edition to come out, then please contact me and I will e-mail you as soon as it is available.


In the meantime, I will leave you with the pattern I was mentioning at the top of the blogpost. This is the Trevarren Placemat Set and you can find the pattern on my website here.

Until next time,

Happy Knitting!

Moira





7 Feb 2020

Faded Denim – a timeless colour for some new placemats


Denim fans have been delighted to see that "Faded Denim" is one of the key colours in Pantone's colour collection for this year and indeed we are seeing some wonderful denim shades in the yarn stores right now. The colour palette also includes a lovely soft dusky yellow and a gentle coral, together with richer shades such as the Colour of the Year, Classic Blue.

Pantone themselves described the colour palette as having "a timeless quality" and it certainly feels very evocative, like sitting on a harbour wall watching the twilight gentle settle at the end of the day.

The photo above shows some lovely yarns from Quince and Co. in just this Faded Denim shade. This is their Chickadee 100% wool yarn and I haven't quite decided what to do with that yet but I am excited by the possibilities. The colours shown are their Delft Blue together with Clay, Carrie's Yellow and the deep blue Fjord. I love the way they go together. I haven't used this yarn before but I hear only good things about it, so am looking forward to trying that out.


Another yarn I purchased recently is Paintbox Yarns Cotton Aran in their Dolphin Blue colour and I have been using that for a set of placemats. I love the way they have come out. The yarn has really brought out the texture of the design.

I worked these in Textured Rib which is a pattern we are going to include in an expanded version of our Reversible Knitting Stitches E-Book in the autumn. The stitch has a strong, cellular pattern with vertical ribs crossed by a line of purls to create a series of small air pockets. This is great for placemats, of course, because it holds the hot items clear of the table surface to protect them.

The other side has a completely different look with a wonderfully undulating surface like a ridge and furrow field, giving a really interesting contour to the otherwise smooth surface. I love patterns that have two very definite “sides”. It always feels like a bit of a bonus to have extra options, doesn't it!


I have just uploaded the Trevarren Placemat Set pattern to my website, so please head there to see more photos and details. The set includes two sizes of placemats, a central tablemat, hot pads and a set of coasters to finish the set off. The colour is just perfect and I am looking forward to using this set lots this summer.

Well, it's turned into a lovely sunny afternoon after a grey start today, so I think I'm going to make a cup of tea and try out some ideas for the Chickadee yarn in the top photo. I'll let you know what I come up with!

Until next time – Happy Knitting,

Moira




10 Jan 2020

20 for 2020


There's always a tremendous feeling of a "new start" at the beginning of a new decade, isn't there. A time for new explorations and new challenges. So it was that on 1st Jan 2010, I opened my brand new notebook and wrote:

"AIM: To find or design knitting stitches that look good on both sides. 
Q: Can I get to a total of 100 stitches? "

A few years earlier I had made a long ribbon of stitches, a bit like a Doctor Who scarf, with a sampler of reversible stitches I had either found or drawn up over the years and had got to a grand total of 73. However, the "scarf" format was unwieldy and I had chosen a lot of dark yarns which didn't photograph well.


So I chose some new yarns and made a start by reknitting all of those stitches. Then I went through all the books I had here and found another 12 so now I had 85 samples, but still far short of the challenge to find 100 that I had set myself.

It was about this time that Anna saw the increasing sets of samples piling up everywhere and joined in the hunt. We started with graph paper and knitting needles and soon had another 20 or so stitches to get to the 100 stitch mark and just beyond.

At which point she said to me, "We should write a book!"


And that's how our Reversible Knitting Stitches book came into being. First as a challenge for the new decade in 2010, then with a fresh pair of eyes and a second pair of hands knitting away over on the other side of the Atlantic.

We scoured the libraries and on-line sites, we took promising stitches and designed new variations to make them reversible, we played around with stitch charts and sampled, sampled, sampled. Then suddenly we were within sight of 200 stitches – a good number for a book. A final few months of exploration and we reached our target! The E-book was published in Sept 2016 and followed shortly afterwards by the print book in 2017.


So what challenge have I in mind for this year? Well my new 2020 Notebook has started with the entry:

"AIM: Find or design more stitches to add to our Reversible Knitting Stitches collection.
Q: Can I add 20 stitches in 2020? "

So that's what I'm going to try to do this year and I'm going to post here with news as I try them out. It might sound a modest number, but I think it will be a fun challenge!

If they look like they'll be good additions to the collection, then we'll add them to the E-book and perhaps try to get a new version out towards the end of the year. I've been wanting to get a new version out for a while anyway, as Anna has some great examples of final pieces to illustrate some of the existing stitches and I'd love to incorporate them into the E-book. 

And of course, we'll send the updated version to everyone who already has the current edition. I'll post updates here as to when that might be, but we're aiming for perhaps October or November if all goes well.

Next time, I'll show you the first of the stitches I've been working on. It's a nice easy stitch and I am currently using it for some placemats and coasters. I'm very excited about these but I'll save news of them until next time.


I'll leave you with a photo I took a couple of weeks ago at one of our lovely beaches, Caspersen Beach in South Venice, Florida – and yes, the sea really was that gorgeous turquoise colour that day! 

I hope your New Year has started well and that it will be a happy and successful year for you all. 

Until next time – Happy Knitting!

Moira



Last Blogpost: Keep those ears warm


30 Dec 2019

Keep those ears warm


Things get tricky when you have a pony tail... You want to keep warm but your favourite hat won't fit. You can lift your parka hood up but that still doesn't bring the circulation back into your ears and you start to believe the old wives' tail about losing half of your body heat through your head in winter!

So here's the solution: a cozy headband or ear-warmer. Quick to knit, easy to make and super-stylish, these small accessories are a must for deep winter. Here are two of my favourites that you can knit now ready for the New Year snows.


The two photos above show Anna's Frost-Fighter Headband and Mitts – a super combination to keep both your ears and hands warm. Anna tells me that she especially likes using the headband when she is out on her morning run as it not only keeps her warm but also keeps her hair out of her eyes.

The set is worked in one of my favourite yarns, Willow and Lark 'Nest' and the pattern includes two different sizes.


The pattern features a lovely stitch from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. This is the Ribbed Cable stitch which is a wonderfully graphic stitch with quite a different look on the front and the back. Both sides are well-padded for extra insulation and the texture feels good against chilly ears.


The second headwarmer I am featuring today is the Teversham Headwarmer, shown here with the matching cowl which is also included in the pattern. This is a super-toasty headwarmer worked with two ends of a DK yarn held together. The combination of a soft merino mix yarn and the deep, textural pattern gives a winning head-warming combination.

This is a lovely deep headwarmer and is shaped to the head like an open-topped hat to give a cozy fit for a "messy bun hat" look. The pattern includes three sizes of headwarmer together with the separate cowl which would make a good men's accessory for that all-important couples' look on the ski-slopes.


Both the headwarmer and the cowl are worked in a textured double rib pattern which is a variation of the Hatfield Check pattern from our Reversible Knitting Stitches collection. The stitch is easy to work and gives a wonderfully graphic spin on a double rib design. 


Both the headwarmer and the cowl have colour bands which are worked with either two ends of the same colour or a tweedy combo of the dark and light yarns for a snow-specked effect.

I hope that has given you some ideas for some cozy headwarmers to keep your ears warm in these ultra-chilly days. If you would like to see more ideas for keeping warm this winter, then please click here to go to the start of this blogpost accessories series.

It's almost New Year so if you have snow where you are, I hope you will enjoy wearing your new cozy accessories while you have fun snow-tubing, ski-ing or having a fun snowball fight!

Until next time – Happy New Year Knitting!

Moira


Last Blogpost: Time to knit a hat
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