30 Sept 2020

Introducing the 2020 Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book


Long-time readers to this blog will know that I am somewhat obsessed about reversible knitting stitches! And I am not alone, because they can open up a whole new area of creative possibilities for both beginners and more experienced knitters. If you've never really thought about them before, they are definitely worth exploring. 

I still find it amazing that reversible stitches look good from both sides. I know that's their definition, but it still seems somehow magical that there isn't  a "right side" or a "wrong side".  So many patterns can leave you feeling disappointed when you see that all your hard work only shows on one side.

However, this is not the case with a reversible stitch – you can quickly wrap a winter scarf around your neck or throw a blanket over your knee and not have to worry about a messy wrong side showing. 


Some reversible stitches look identical on both sides and are what we term "truly reversible". However, there are also a large number which look quite different on the back which can lead to lots more creative options. 

And did you know that reversible stitches tend to lie perfectly flat? This is all to do with the balance of knits and purls on the two sides, so the forces which make Stocking Stitch roll tightly into a tube are equalled out.  This makes them the perfect choice for blankets, rugs and placemats. In fact, you can even use a reversible stitch at the border of other stitches to stabilise them.

Reversible stitches can also provide texture, insulation, warmth and cushioning. Amazing!


I started collecting examples of reversible stitches way-back-when. This was before we all had computers at home, so whenever I either designed a new stitch or came across one in a magazine, I would chart it and paste it into a file. Of course, over time this grew from just one file to quite a few!

Then about 10 years ago, I decided to work up new samples of every reversible knitting stitch in my collection. My daughter Anna joined me in the task and by the time we had finished, the table was covered with 200 stitch samples! It was at that point that Anna said "We should gather these into a book..."

And that was how the first edition of our Reversible Knitting Stitches book came into being. 


Then at the start of this year, I decided to challenge myself to see if I could add 20 more stitches in 2020. In the end, Anna and I topped that by a long way and we managed to design, find or adapt more than 50 stitches to add to the collection! 

So we are delighted to now be able to introduce the brand-new edition of our E-book: Reversible Knitting Stitches – A Sourcebook of 250 Double-Sided Stitch Patterns.

You can see a gallery of sample pages from this new edition on my website and purchase a copy here. The book is available for instant download directly from the site and can be read on computers, tablets, phones and other mobile devices.


The new stitches are scattered throughout the book, with some lovely new examples for beginner knitters as well as stitches worked in two or more colours. This includes the one shown here, Cushioned Rib, which is a wonderfully padded stitch. This is beautiful when worked in a single shade but really comes into its own when worked in a combination of colours. 

We have also included lots of new reversible lace stitches and reversible cables to expand the final two chapters in the book as it is so hard to find good examples of these types of stitches.


In addition to adding stitches into the collection, we have also added a brand new section at the start of the book, including notes on materials & equipment for working reversible knitting stitches. This is followed by suggestions for yarn choices and the use of colour in reversible knitting plus the creative ways in which you can use tension and gauge in your work.

The new edition also includes all new stitch charts to take advantage of the wonderful changes in chart drafting software over the last few years. The stitch charts are now beautifully crisp and clear even when you zoom right in or print them out.


We have also added many new project examples, including Anna's lovely Frost Fighter Mitts shown here. The E-book now contains over 80 project examples to inspire you in your own design work.

For more information about the Reversible Knitting Stitches E-book, please click here. We ​hope you enjoy the new edition and that it gives you lots of new ideas for your autumn knitting! 

Until next time – keep smiling,

Moira


25 Sept 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

Updated 9/10/20

26 Aug 2020

New pattern – Kassiopi 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 Kassiopi Scarf and it features a wonderfully textured reversible pattern from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book. The stitch is called Seeded Chevron and is one of my favourite stitch patterns in the book.

Kassiopi is a lovely fishing village in the island of Corfu and indeed, these scarves are reminiscent of the scents and sounds of that beautiful part of the world – the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean, lazy summer days and an evening cocktail by the pool.... 

There are three scarves in the collection. The slim and medium scarves are worked in lime-green and aqua yarns and feature deeply-incised chevrons interlaced along the length of the scarf to give 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 wide version has two repeats of the chevron design which gives a beautiful sense of balance, symmetry and calm. 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 Kassiopi 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. In addition to the Seeded Chevron pattern featured in the Kassiopi Scarf there are also more than 250 other double-sided stitches to explore.

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.

Updated 9/10/20

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 an 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. 

For more information and to see a gallery of pages from the book, then please click here.

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.


Updated 9/10/20

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 reversible 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 reversible 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. 


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



Updated 9/10/20

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 gather these into 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! 


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 publish this as a new edition by 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 the middle of September 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



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Updated 9/10/20

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