More About Nell



Here’s a much better picture of my soon-to-be-released design, Nell – superbly and glamorously modelled by my Mum. The pattern has been tech edited, and a test knit is nearing completion. As the yarn I used for the prototype is discontinued, I’m halfway through another one, this time using Babylonglegs Semi~Precious DK in Auld Gold, a lovely merino/silk blend which has been lurking in my stash for quite some time now. I’m hoping to be able to release the pattern in the next week or so, providing I can find an able and willing model for some proper and decent photographs in the meantime. I’ve come to the conclusion that I much prefer to take pictures of someone else wearing my designs rather than myself … plus it means I can then concentrate on getting the style of photographs I want.


KAL Alert!


I’ve recently finished a test knit for my favourite designer, Madeleine Nilsson, for her newest pattern, Leksak Lady. Although I truly love every one of the half a dozen or so of her fabulous designs that I’ve test knit or just knit for my own enjoyment, this one has to be my favourite …


And now you can knit one too! Madeleine is hosting a knit along in her Ravelry group, starting on Monday 9th June.


This is such an easy pattern, and relatively fast to knit too. I absolutely love the length, and I can see this being perfect to wear with anything for any occasion. Now all I need is to find some stash yarn so I can make another one during the KAL.

Go on, sign up … you know you want to!

Finished Object: Nell


So here at last is my shawl – I’ve been suffering from an inflamed tendon in my wrist over the past couple of weeks, so progress has been slow.  Now that I’m finally finished, I am so so happy with how this has turned out – but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about a slightly different version.  You can’t really see from the pictures below, but Nell is almost heart-shaped – and I’m thinking that by spacing the increases out differently I could make a more crescenteric version.  This version was knit with Rowan Luxury Cotton DK, which has 104 yards/50 g.  I used just under four skeins.  I just have to finish writing up the pattern (or, more accurately, put the chart together) and then I’m going to put it up for testing.  I can see this made in a variety of yarn weights, so that’s what I’ll be looking for in test mode.  I rather fancy doing a laceweight version myself, but I just don’t have time at the moment.


This really was a very simple knit – the pleated edging is a simple combination of knit and purl stitches, with some yarn overs and a few short rows thrown in for good measure.  It is, however, quite labour intensive, as the edging is knit sideways onto the body of the shawl, but the pattern isn’t complicated and once you get the hang of it you can complete one pattern repeat very quickly.


You’ll have to excuse my fat, wobbly arms in these photos – there’s not enough Photoshop in the world to make them look any better!

Look out for the pattern coming soon in my Ravelry store!

Rewind …


So in my last blog post I wrote about casting on for another shawl – I’d already swatched it and had decided on an easier way of constructing it.  Or so I thought!  I played around with it, and I didn’t like it – it didn’t work how I wanted to.  So I ripped, and started again.  I knit the whole of the body and sat and looked at it for ages … and ages … and ages.  Nope, too small.  So I ripped and started again after a lot of thought about how many stitches I needed for the edging and how I was going to get the sums right, with more increases in each row, and that was much better.  I knit the whole of the body again (I’d had to change the look of it to get the maths right, but still).  Then I started the edging, and I realised I’d forgotten that I needed multiples of my stitch count, plus one stitch for the edging to sit right.  Gggrrr.  So tonight I’ve ripped it out and restarted yet again … but on the plus side, I’ve been able to change the look of it back to how I’d envisaged it originally.  I’m still not convinced about the stitch count for the edging though …

Anyway, when I’ve finally stopped ripping and restarting, it promises to be a really pretty shawl, very elegant and understated.  I’m knitting my sample in DK-weight yarn, but I’m hoping to write the final pattern in a variety of sizes to take advantage of several different weights of yarn – I’m thinking definitely laceweight and fingering plus the DK at the very least.  I’m not sure that it would work so well in aran/worsted weight, but I’ll definitely be swatching at that weight to see what happens.  Construction-wise, the body is knit first, and then the edging is knit on afterwards to the live stitches, but overall the pattern is very simple.  I like clean and simple lines, and that will hopefully come across in my designs. 

Also as I mentioned last time, Phyllis has now been test knit, and tech edited.  I’m pondering running a KAL at some point in the near future – all opinions about this are welcomed!  Unfortunately, I’ve only got as far as pondering, as life has been even more hectic than usual recently.  Work has been completely relentless, the phone has rung off the hook all day every day, and there have been challenges galore to deal with.  Oh, and I’ve been covering for one of my staff and my manager for the last week, which hasn’t helped my productivity (despite working extra hours last week).  I could’ve done with going to work on Friday (Good Friday here in the UK is a bank holiday so no work!), and just spending a few hours trying to clear some of my typing backlog, but I decided that catching up on a bit of sleep was probably a bit more important.  It’s hard to be productive during the working day when exhaustion wants to be your best friend.

Things have been hectic at home too.  M has come to live with us now (hooray!!!), and we’re still in that getting used to the changes phase – for me that means a 20 mile round trip to pick him up from work each night (he’s learning to drive) and to take him on the days when he doesn’t start until after I get home, getting into the habit of cooking a proper dinner so that there’s some for him when he comes home (instead of my usual ‘can’t be bothered, let’s just have omelette or beans on toast’); and more bloody ironing!  But I am definitely not complaining, even though I am going to have to bite the bullet and have a major declutter (yes, another one) over the next few weeks in order to make some more room for his meagre possessions (well, compared to all the crap I have, anyway …) 

See … this is why I am definitely not complaining at having to make any adjustments whatsoever to my routines and life … he’s just handed me my iPad, and shown me that he’s just sourced me a copy of the full instruction manual for a new program that I need to learn to use (without being asked).  It would no doubt have taken me forever to track a copy down, but he has this knack for producing the goods in double quick time.  AND he’s sent me the link to a billion and one webcasts showing how to use the program.  AND made me about 100 cups of coffee today.  Me?  Spoilt?  Yep!

Right, time for a few more rows of shawl-incarnation-no7634 before bed … back in a few days (hopefully) with a sneaky peek for you!



I’m Sorry, I’ll Say That Again …


Do you ever get the feeling that you just spend far too much of your time knitting, thinking about knitting, or browsing the internet for knitterly goodness?  I’m sure it can’t be just me.

Earlier this week, after swatching the night before, dreaming about swatching all night and spending my journey to work mentally dissecting and reknitting my swatch, I found myself entering some data onto a spreadsheet for my manager, in relation to an exercise we’ve been doing whereby we’ve been doublechecking that patients who came to a preoperative assessment clinic did indeed get put on the waiting list and had their surgery.  I was updating the list I had with an outcome.  I got to the bottom of my list and scanned quickly upwards again to check that I’d entered something for each patient.

Oops …

Patient decreased?

I just knit a patient!

Unfortunately it was a patient who is no longer with us.  And yes, it could be considered slightly disrespectful, albeit totally unintentionally (and anyone who knows me personally will know that I have this whole huge thing going on about respecting other people), but it did make me giggle and it goes to show where my mind has been lately, doesn’t it!

Remember I mentioned a swatch that might be a scarf, or maybe a cowl but couldn’t make it’s mind up?  It decided it wanted to be a shawl, finally, in a totally different stitch pattern than it started off in.  My rather large swatch is currently relaxing on my blocking mat in my nice warm dining room, in preparation for a few photographs tomorrow.  Unfortunately I won’t be sharing it just yet, as I have decided to submit it to a popular knitting publication for consideration.  Well, you’ve got to speculate to accumulate, right?  I don’t for one minute have any expectation that it will be accepted for publication, but I’ll submit it anyway because I’ve always been one to aim high.

In the meantime, I’ve got an exciting test knit to crack on with for the lovely Madeleine at Yarn-Madness, and so I’m off to House of Fraser this weekend to see if they’ve got any aran weight bargains in their end of line box – I do have a particular yarn in mind that I know they had last time I was in there … but that was a good six weeks ago, so I’m hoping they’ve got some left still.  This test knit is going to be my ‘at home’ project.  I’m hopefully casting on another shawl design tomorrow that I swatched a couple of weeks ago, that I can have as my at work ‘go away, it’s my lunchbreak, can’t you see I’m knitting?’ project.  I was all set to go with the pattern I’d envisaged and swatched (and more or less written in its entirety), but in the last couple of weeks it’s hit me that there is an easier and potentially better way to get the look I’m after, so I’m just going to cast on and go for it (with my notebook at the ready to note down every detail as I knit it so that I can rewrite the pattern).  The beauty of this one is that it could potentially be knit in any weight yarn – though I think I’m going to stash bust and make a DK prototype, and then hopefully get it test knit in other weights.

Talking of test knits, I decided to have my Phyllis Shawlette test knit.  Yep, that’s right, after I’d released it.  What can I say … I’m contrary.  I’ve had three lovely Ravellers test knitting for me over the last couple of weeks, one of whom posted a picture earlier today – she knit hers in a beautiful variegated brown/rust/red colourway, and it looks fantastic.  When the others are finished and pictures posted I’ll be asking them for permission to link their projects here or post their photos.  I cannot tell you what a thrill it was today to see a photo of something someone made from a pattern that I wrote – I felt very designery, I can tell you.  I’ve also managed to find myself a tech editor, and the pattern for Phyllis will be going off to be tech edited next week.

I do love having a purpose in life, don’t you?!

Swatch Out!


Is it me, or has this week just flown by?  It seems like only yesterday that I was gleefully locking up my office and heading off for a week of relaxation at home with The Man … sadly, it wasn’t just yesterday, it was over a week ago, and I’m back to work tomorrow.  Bleurgh!

It would be nice to say thatweI’ve had an absolutely fantastic time, been here, there and everywhere and done this, that and the other, but nothing could be further from the truth!  We’ve been incredibly lazy and barely left the house; though we did manage bits of housework here and there, and even a bit of gardening (when I say gardening, I mean an hour spent looking despairingly at the jungle which sits where my garden used to be; moving big stones off to one side and pondering loudly how much it might cost me to just get someone to come and sort it out on my behalf).  In the main, we’ve been sat at the dining table, The Man playing games on his computer, and me trawling stitch patterns and knitting sites in general, which has been quite productive.  My brain has been teeming with potential new designs, and there’s been lots of swatching going on.  So much so, in fact, that there is a five foot pile of swatches on the mantelpiece.  Oh, alright then.  Three.  That’s three swatches, not three feet …

So, coming soon (once I’ve stopped swatching and committed to one design at a time) will be another one-skein shawlette pattern, in fingering weight yarn; and then possibly another shawlette, which might actually really be a scarf, or maybe even a cowl (it’s been all three this weekend, but it hasn’t made its mind up yet).  Then there might be another pair of socks or two on the horizon, and maybe something manly.

In the meantime, I want to get the train to work tomorrow, so that means bedtime now, otherwise I won’t be able to get up early enough and will end up driving yet again … and after a week sat on my bum playing with needles and yarn, I really need the exercise!

Night, all!