23 Oct 2008

Rare Earth Rug

Nothing warms a New England winter more than a cozy rug to step onto first thing in the morning. This one is no exception, with its rich natural tones harmonizing with the beauty of the world outside.

The colors reflect the bare branches of aspen, birch and oak with their thick coating of snow which make this time of year so special for those of us who live in these cold, northerly climes.

Even in more temperate areas, a beautiful natural-colored rug would add a homely touch to any room.

The Rare Earth Rug can be worked from handspun yarn, as here, or with commercially available yarns in natural shades of browns, greys and off-whites.

The wonderfully gentle gradations of color are achieved by working with two strands of yarn in ever-changing combinations. The stitch pattern is reversible and lies flat without curling or distortions.

The Rare Earth Rug pattern includes stitch charts and full line-by-line instructions and is available for instant download.

If you would like to knit a set of co-ordinating cushions, then please see: Rare Earth Cushions.

Happy Knitting!


Last Blogpost: Fibonacci striped bag
Next Up: Bags of bags!

. 23/7/18 W

8 Aug 2008

Fibonacci Striped Bag

Over the last few weeks I have been blogging about the BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! knitting pattern with suggestions for fun variations. In this blogpost, I am featuring a bag I made using all the left-over yarn oddments from other bags. The dyelots varied enormously, yet when this bag was finished you really couldn't see that there were shade differences in the yarns. 

This has been a very successful bag – my shopping bag of choice, and the one most commented upon when I am out and about. The bag was worked completely in Seed Stitch and seemed to grow surprising quickly. I found myself saying: "Oh, I'll just work one more band..." and it was soon finished. There is definitely some merit in having such frequent colour changes to provide a good target for your knitting! 

It's always fun using up a whole bag-full of remnant yarns, but if you want to start with fresh supplies, then there are many colours available in the Lily 'Sugar 'n Cream" range.

The striped pattern is a "Fibonacci" sequence. This is where the previous 2 numbers are added together to give the next number in the sequence, so: 

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 etc. 

Fibonacci sequences tend to give very interesting results, and reflect patterns that we see in nature. In this bag, I used the 5 - 8 - 13 part of this sequence to form the stripes and worked: 

13 Rnds in MC 
8 Rnds using CC#1 
5 Rnds with CC#2 
then 8 Rnds of CC#1 again 

I had a lot of yarn tails to finish off at the end because I had used so many remnants, but it was very satisfying to have so little wasted yarn at the end of this project. 

I hope you have enjoyed exploring the many variations from one pattern. Please see my blogpost: "Bags of bags" where you can see photographs of all these various bags on one page. 

If you would like more information about the latest version of the BYOB 2.0 pattern, please click here. 

Happy Knitting! 


Last Blogpost: Basketweave bag
Next Up: Rare Earth Rug

. 23/12/18 W

Basketweave Bag

In the last few blogposts, I have been exploring some variations of the BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! knitting pattern so that you can make bags that will be just right for your next shopping trip. 

In July, I posted about two different colour variations: a Fall Fired Earth colourway with lovely earthy tones, and a simple but effective two-tone variation worked in pinks and blues. Last time, I explored some bags that were worked entirely in Seed Stitch, one of my favourite stitches (can you tell!!)

The bag I am featuring today is another solid-sided bag, but this time worked with a Basketweave stitch replacing the central mesh part of the BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern. This stitch is taken from our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and is a good-looking stitch with a lot of flexibility.

You can knit the bags with the 3-coloured bands as in the original pattern or just with two different colours as I was describing in my last blogpost. The photo above shows bags worked in pink or blue with slim white stripes for an elegant look. 

This is a good variation of the basic design as it is still quite flexible so can accommodate awkwardly-shaped items but gives a little more support. Working a couple of these alongside the regular BYOB Bags would make a lovely co-ordinated set. 

Please click here for more details about the BYOB pattern and have fun trying out some variations of your own. 

For more information about our new Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please see my website. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print book or a Print and E-Book Package.

Happy Knitting! 


Last Blogpost: Small and stripey bags

. 23/12/18 W

23 Jul 2008

Small and stripey bags

In the last few blogposts, I have been looking at colour variations of the BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! knitting pattern. However, it is possible to make other subtle changes for a completely different style of bag. 

The original bag had a solid Seed Stitch base and a flexible mesh mid-section. However, you could delete the lace part of the pattern and work the bags completely in Seed Stitch. This not only changes the nature of the bag (and also the overall size to some extent), but also allows you to play with different colour combinations.

The bag in the photograph above, for example, has a 26-Round pattern repeat with thick and thin stripes. I worked this in the Fired Earth colourway that I wrote about here, but I could imagine this in a variety of different colours for some spectacular bags.

The second one has evenly-sized stripes but with extra interest formed by the change of the leading contrast colour in the pattern repeat. This is only a simple change in the colour patterning, but it gives quite a complex result.

Changing to an all Seed Stitch fabric makes these into good, strong bags well-suited for moderately heavy loads of shopping. I often use these bags when I am heading to the shopping mall or elsewhere and find them great for more general shopping. And, of course, if you are not a fan of Seed Stitch, then you could even substitute a completely different stitch pattern! 

By now we have come a long way from the original design, but with only subtle changes in the overall pattern. 

Please click here to see all my bag patterns, including a set of four linen-lined bags for all your heavier shopping loads.

Happy Knitting! 


Next Up: Basketweave Bag

. 28/7/18 W

20 Jul 2008

BYOB - Pretty in Pink (and Blue)

The BYOB - Bring Your own Bag! pattern can look very different when it is worked in different colours. My original bag was worked in a Summer Limes colourway, with a fresh lime green main colour teamed with blue and purple contrast colour stripes. In my last blogpost I showed the bags worked with more earthy tones in a Fired Earth Colourway – just perfect for the Fall.

In this post I am featuring some bags which have been worked in just two colours, with a pretty berry pink or gentle blue contrasting with bright white. 


The bags were worked in Lion Brand 'Cotton-Ease' yarn which has now been discontinued. However, the ever-popular Lily "Sugar 'n Cream" yarn is still going strong and is a great substitute for the original yarn.

In the pink bags, I replaced the CC#2 bands in the original pattern with MC. Otherwise there were no other changes.

In the blue bags, I worked 3 narrow bands in the lower band. These have 3 rounds in white with 5 rounds of MC between. Then the rest of the pattern is the same up to the top band, where I again used MC to replace the CC#2 colour.

The result is simple yet stylish, and also involves less left-over yarn – always a bonus! 

For more details the latest version of this pattern, the BYOB 2.0, please click here. The pattern is available for instant download from my site so you can start work on your new bag today!

Happy Knitting!


. 23/12/18 W

BYOB - Fired Earth Colourway

In my last blogpost, I was describing how I was drawn to make a set of knitted BYOB bags to supplement the linen bags I was taking to the supermarket. First I made just a couple, then a few more and a few more. Well, you know how it goes when you are enjoying knitting an item, right?

I wanted the first ones to be bright, cheery and to suit the high summer season, so I chose a lovely "Summer Limes" Colourway – a vibrant green main colour with blue and purple contrast stripes. 

However, as the season started to cool and my clothes migrated into more autumnal shades they didn't match quite so well. So I headed back to the shops and found that the Lily Brand Sugar 'n Cream yarn also comes in some wonderful earthy tones.

 So here is a set of these bags in a "Fired Earth" colourway. Now I can walk to the shops carrying these bags and kicking up the beautiful red New England sugar maple leaves as they fall all around me....

In the centre bag above I used a lovely terracotta colour as the main colour, with maize and taupe stripes. Then I switched the main colour for the other two bags, so I either started with the lovely dusky yellow maize colour or the rich dark taupe shade.

It is remarkable how different each of the bags look, isn't it? However, they make a beautifully co-ordinated set when you gather them all together. I hope you enjoy this "Fall Variation"!

For more details about the latest version of the BYOB pattern, please click here.

Happy Knitting! 


. 23/12/18 W

18 Jul 2008

BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag!

Thank you for all the great comments and suggestions on my BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern that was recently published in Knitty, Summer 2008. I am going to post some blog entries over the next few days with variations that you might want to try. 

In the meantime, I have had a number of requests for further information, so I will answer some questions here:


Q: There are two different ways of working the Seed Stitch given. Why is that? 

Seed Stitch is worked as k1, p1 on an odd number of stitches when working flat, but when you are working in the round, then you need to start the 2nd round with a P1. Both options are shown in the pattern.

However, it will always be that a knit stitch should fall above a purl 'bump' in the previous row, and a purl will come above a knit in the last row. This gives the appearance of neatly arranged grains of rice that is the characteristic 'look' of Seed Stitch. The base also contains selvedge stitches and these are included in the row instructions.

Q: Is it necessary to shape the base? I am having trouble getting the increases and decreases to look good in Seed Stitch. 

Seed Stitch is a bit unforgiving and will unfortunately show up inconsistencies in your knitting. However, if you work these increases and decreases firmly and close to the tips of the needles, then you should have no problems making these look good. 

The shaping makes it easier to load the bags and for them to sit well at the check-out, but you can opt to work a rectangular base if you wish. You will not get such a smooth result as the base would then have a more angular shape, but if you are having problems with the increases/decreases then you might prefer to do that instead. 

Q: I am quite short. Can I change the length of the openwork panel so that the bags are shorter? 

Absolutely! These bags are a good size so that they will accommodate large items such as cereal packets. However, you might like to work less of the lacy panel and have a shorter bag. Have a look also at the subsequent postings for other variations of this bag so that you can see different options that you might want to try and also see the new version of the pattern which now has 4 different sizes. 

Q: How much weight will the bags take? 

They will carry about the same as a standard supermarket plastic bag without any difficulty. They are especially useful for bulky items, of course, but I find they are still good with moderately heavy things in them when I carry them on my arm. 

When I head to the shops I take a couple of linen bags for the really heavy items and a few of these BYOB Bags for all the awkwardly-shaped items. That seems a really good combination and avoids the need for all the plastic bags at the checkout.

For more information about the BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern, please click here. The pattern is available for instant download from my website. Also look at the other bags available in my pattern store.

Happy Knitting! 


Our Book: Reversible Knitting Stitches

. 28/7/18 W


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