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Archived posts from December 2006 to December 2008 are missing their photos. Key posts will be updated as soon as I have time!

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Thursday
Jul102014

Introducing Asymloche

Unwind Brighton is just around the corner, and it's now time to reveal the brand new design for the show! Exciting!

 

Let me introduce Asymloche.

Asymloche is an asymmetrical sideways knit. And I'm really rather happy with it.

 

The crown is off centre and can be worn in a number of different ways. It doesn't follow the standard Hat construction in the sense that the crown isn't flat and sitting on top of a tube. It's curved all the way through and fits the head beautifully. The angle of the curve alters across the Hat, too.

 

The structure is emphasised by applied I-cords, and that's where all those extra tutorials will come in handy.

 

Because of it's construction, and the formula for the shaping and short rows, sizing is achieved through gauge. Two sizes are included in the pattern, to cover the most common Hat sizes, yet it's not too tricky to achieve a different size through variations in needles and/or gauge. Row gauge is the important factor for circumference fit, and stitch gauge affects the depth.

 

Asymloche is designed for a new yarn by Juno Fibre Arts, and in a new colour, too. The development process has been interesting, and it's been a great experience to collaborate in this way. It's also a little daunting, as I've no idea if anyone else will like the colour as much as we do.

 

After all the samples and models and reknits, I think the finished Hat is worth the effort. Yes, there's a fair few techniques in there but it's simpler than it looks, I promise. There are fiddly bits that will test your patience but I think you'll find it a worthwhile challenge.

Don't let the fact that my tech editor described it as a 'brain bender' put you off.

 

And of course, it's a sideways knit. Who doesn't love a sideways knit? A sideways knit cloche, at that.

  

The yarn is Buffy Pure DK and is also launching at Unwind this weekend! A new pattern and a new yarn - cool, no? Asti has dyed up a whole host of colours for the show, including this one. It's a really lovely yarn to knit with, and has all the warmth and woolliness you'd expect from a 100% BFL yarn. It's a purely British yarn, too.

 

Asymloche will be available to purchase from tomorrow morning, and will also be available from Juno Fibre Arts throughout the weekend. The Hat will be on the stand - please do come along and have a look at it; explore it's construction, and then by some yarn to make it!

 

There is an awful lot of buzz about Unwind this weekend, so why not follow Unwind or myself on Twitter to find out the minute Asymloche is published! You won't be disappointed, I promise :)

Tuesday
Jul012014

Sample Sale!

Having had a good hunt through all of my Hats recently, most of which I need for trunk shows and exhibits, I found myself with a small pile of duplicates. And seeing as it's the summer, when pattern sales are slower and we want to run around and visit a bunch of sorely missed friends, I figured I'd have a wee sample sale to raise some extra diesel money.

I don't have all the original ball bands for all the samples, but I've added what I know for certain where I can.

I can tell you that they're all wool unless otherwise stated, and it's safest to assume that they're *hand wash only* unless otherwise stated.

Please also bear in mind that these are samples and have been worn for photographs and such. I've kept them in the best condition I can, but they're not hot off the needles. They are sold as seen :)*

* If you are in any way not satisfied with the purchase then let me know within 14 days and we can sort something out. But I'm afraid I cannot pay for return shipping costs, and I will also need to deduct the original cost of shipping from the refund amount - thanks for your understanding!

And yes, I'm selling them cheap because I want to sell them quickly! The prices shown *include* postage and packing (to anywhere in the world).. anything still available come mid-July will be listed on Etsy where p&p will be *extra*. 

We'll be offline for a few days whilst we drive back to the UK, so leave a comment with your preference, and do include your email addy in the relevant field (will be kept private), and I'll send you a PayPal invoice as soon as I'm in wifi range. First come first served; please reply to the PayPal invoice within 48 hrs, else it'll go the next customer.

Thanks!

The first of two Elfdans samples in Red & Yellow, knit in Rowan Fine Tweed (pure wool; handwash only). Finished size is 17.25in, to fit size 18in head. £15 inc p&p. Sold!

 

The second of two Elfdans samples in Burgundy & Yellow, knit in Rowan Fine Tweed (pure wool; handwash only). Finished size is 17.25in, to fit size 18in head. £15 inc p&p. Sold!

 

The original Staggered sample - I believe the yarn is Rowan pure Wool and *may* be machine washable but I can't find the ballband to confirm this. Finished size is 21.5in, to fit a 23in size. £12.50 inc p&p.  Sold!

 

One of the original Forestry samples - this is the smallest size I knit. Made from Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply (silk/merino, handwash only). Finished size is 15in, to fit 16in - 18in (plenty of stretch, this one!) £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

One of the original three Bubbles samples - knit in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (handwash only). Finished size is 16in, fit up to 19in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

A Freccia sample, in what I believe is Rowan Pure Wool DK and *may* be machine washable, but I'd handwash to be on the safe side. Finished size is 15in, fits up to 18in. £15 inc p&p. Sold!

 

A fabulous Selkie sample, one of 3 original samples knit in Lornas Laces Shepherd worsted (machine washable). Finished size of 16.75in, to fit 19in head. £15 inc p&p. Sold!

 

One of about 5(!) original Sproutling samples, knit in Wendey Merino DK (machine washable). Finished size is 16in, will fit up to 18in or 19in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

A previously unseen Mushroom Cap sample, worked in 2 wools, one of which is hand dyed, and I believe the other is a discontinued merino, and I'd suggest handwashing only. Finished size is 17in, will fit up to 20in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

A previously unseen Tudor Cap sample, knit in Dream in Color Groovy (says it's machine washable, though I haven't tested this) Finished size is 18.5in, will fit up to 21in. £15 inc p&p. Sold!

 

One of the original Filigree Beanie samples, knit in J&S Shetland Aran, and is very much *not* machine washable! Finished size is 16.75in, will fit up to 19in head. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

The original Symetrie sample, knit in Trekking Hand Art, machine washable. Finished size is 19.25in, to fit size 21.5in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

The original Pinwheel Beret sample, knit in Trekking Hand Art and is machine washable. Finished size is 16in, to fit up to 19in. £10 inc p&p.

 

The original rasta sized Marina sample! Knit in Araucania Aysen (merino/alpaca/silk) and isn't machine washable. Finished size is 20in, rasta length, to fit up to 24in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

One of the original Concentricity samples, which I believe is knit in Rowan Purel Wool Aran but I don't have the ballband to confirm that. Finished size is 17.5in, to fit 20in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

A re-knit of the Whirly Rib Cap pattern in Malabrigo Merino worsted (handwash only) Finished size is 18in, fits up to 21in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

A re-knit of the Pleated Beret pattern in an unknown Italian Merino DK (ballband missing; presumed handwash only) Finished size is 19.5in, fits up to 22in. £12.50 inc p&p. Sold!

 

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Please do read through the details above, and if any of these Hats takes your fancy, leave a comment below and I'll be in touch! (you can email too, but leaving a comment lets other folk know which ones have been bagsied :) Don't forget internet access will be limited as we travel, so don't panic if you don't hear from me for a couple of days.

 

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ps/ thank you so much for the sales so far! The first invoices have gone out before we've even set off - brilliant! Don't forget to include your email address - there's a field for it in the comment box, where it will be kept private - I'm afraid I can't get in touch with you without it :) 

Wednesday
Jun252014

Some clever things you can do with Purled I-Cords

I do rather like purled I-cords; they don't all have to be the regular knit variety. And even the regular knit variety can be used in lots of different ways.

The tutorials below have been written to support my new design that will be launched at Unwind in a few weeks, which features, yup you guessed it, purled I-cords. That said, their uses are many, and I hope you enjoy experimenting with them.

Firstly, there's the Purled I-cord Bind-off:

 

 

I think this one is fairly self explanatory - you create a purl I-cord as you cast off your stitches. It's a nice edge, don't you think?

I haven't got the Tutorials page set up for these yet, so I'm going to park them here for now.

download the Purled I-Cord Bind-off tutorial

 

Next up is a fun little thing I worked out one morning, which is really rather clever. It's a way of combining a 3-needle bind-off with a purled I-cord, all in one go. And it's really not as bad as it sounds!

 

 

This isn't essential for the new design, but it is an option, should you not fancy the other challenge. Doesn't it look pretty cool? I love it. 

download the Purled I-Cord 3-Needle Bind-off tutorial

 

Once I'd started wandering down this road, I got rather excited by the different ways of creating an I-cord, purled or otherwise, across a section of knitted fabric. Some as bind-offs (as above), and some applied, as below...

 

This looks the same as the one above, except it's not. I rather like things that achieve the same finished look but are created by different means... it allows for flexibility within a design; it means design elements can be repeated and not be hindered by different construction requirements. And that makes for a clever design. There is a very slight difference between the two, but it's hardly noticeable. Swatch them and see for yourself.

And this one is actually easier than the combo bind-off one, even though I've given it a bit of long name.... I've called it the 'Traverse Applied Purled I-cord'. Because, well, it is traverse... technically it can travel in a variety of directions across a piece of knitted fabric (although it will require some sort set up in that piece of knitted fabric, as mentioned in the tutorial, unless you really want to go rogue and apply freeform stylee... and I say got for it!) and it is applied, which kinda makes it less messy.

download the Traverse Applied Purled I-Cord tutorial

 

And finally, before anyone asks - an Applied Purled I-cord to a selvedge edge is, well, kinda messy. I tried a few different ways of doing it directly onto the fabric but none of them pleased me. So if you want to try it, I suggest picking up and knitting the stitches along the selvedge edge, then working an Purled I-cord Bind-off. So, *so* much neater. 

Right, that's it for today. Figured I've earnt myself a glass of prosecco!

ps/ if anyone knows of a simpler or alternative name for these, do comment. There's bound to be other unventions around, but I couldn't find any. Enjoy :)

eta/ the final download link was a bit wonky - all fixed now!

Sunday
Jun222014

Naturally Slouchy, only different.

 

Among the patterns that I've felt are in need of much more love is Naturally Slouchy. You'd be forgiven for thinking the photos here are an entirely different Hat!

 

 

The original sample no longer lives with me, so to give it the attention it deserves, a new yarn was needed. The original pattern is written for something in the worsted range; this time I went with an aran weight - Langdale Superwash Aran from Eden Cottage Yarns.

 

 

The yarn is absolutely delicious to knit with, and I do love the depths of colour here. I'm not sure my photos do it justice... it's easy to saturate when shooting this time of year against this background (yes, yes, yes... my new favourite background), so I may go back and redo the editing. Methinks I'll be stocking up with more of this yarn, especially in this colour. So soft and drapey and stable!

 

 

As the yarn is different, the gauge is different, and that means a few adjustments are needed. And as I worked through the pattern, experience saw a few places for improvement (in particular, a method to make the transition between the Body and Crown easier for differences in row gauge) and so it's in the queue that'll be going for tech editing.

The thing is, is that the original name doesn't really suit the Hat any more. And y'all know that I'm a bit rubbish with naming Hats, yes?

So, wanna help a girl out and offer a suggestion of two? There'll be a copy of the pattern in it for you! I'll leave this open for a couple of weeks, as we've time, and don't forget to put your email address in the comment field so I can get in touch :)

What does the structure/design/pattern remind you of?

(please leave your suggestions here, not FB, Rav or Twitter.. this helps me keep track :) 

Saturday
Jun212014

A fresh look for the free patterns, too

It's not just the paid-for patterns that are getting a make-over!

Whilst there's mixed opinions in the industry about free patterns and the benefits of, in my mind they have value, and I've no intention of dropping them or leaving them behind. True, they aren't as indepth and the PDF front pages or the webpages don't contain as much info, because they don't need to - you can simply download the PDF and have a mooch through the pages. The free patterns are generally less complex than my paid-for ones and won't be as indepth, which is fair enough - there are reasons why some are free and most are not.

The patterns that have been updated and have new photos this week are:

 

Dylan's Beanie

 

Ribbed Beanie

 

Tri Peak

 

Bridget

 

Sideways Bobble Hat

 

Tea Cozy Hat

 

I-Cord Beanie

 

A few more are in the new layout without a change of photos, and they include: Jester Hat, Baby I-cord Beanie, Baby Tri-Peak, Baby Rollin' Beret and the Meret.

One of the main things that will be changing with the free patterns is how pattern support (customer service) will be dealt with. I don't get a lot of emails about the free patterns, maybe an average of 2 or 3 a month over a year, but the questions that get asked have been asked before, and for that reason it's much more beneficial to direct those questions to the Ravelry group forum, where the answers are.

I don't mind answering questions via emails per se, but when I'm as overstretched as I am and my online hours are limited, I need to prioritise the questions & emails about my paid-for patterns. Even then, the Ravelry group is generally a better place to seek help - we've built a great community there, where pattern support threads are already in place, and a knitter is bound to get help much more quickly than they would if they're waiting for me to reply personally.

The notice about pattern support & the Rav group is being added to every free pattern as it's reformatted, and being added to each webpage. I do hope folks understand my reasons :)

 

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Whenever I've tried to discuss the pros and cons of free patterns, I've usually ended feeling the need to justify myself, as feelings can be pretty strong on the subject, and I have a fair few freebies. And honestly, it's rubbish that I should feel like that and I really wish folks would stop "suggesting" that I change my business model and start charging for the freebies!

There are many reasons as to why I make a pattern free. A lot of the time they're pretty basic, and may be a variation on a theme. They're unlikely to be as complex as my paid-for patterns, or it may be that the design doesn't excite me as much. It could simply be because the pattern has come about whilst exploring a technique or yarn (and I'm virtually unable to knit the same thing twice, and habit has me writing down everything I do) or it may a pattern I was cutting my teeth on in the early days. Or it could be that the pattern was written for a Hat that was a gift, and I don't feel it's appropriate to charge for something that was given with generous intentions.

There are lots of reasons why designers offer free patterns, and they're not all obvious business reasons.

Yes, I like to have free patterns so that knitters can try my patterns, a taster if you like (and that is one *huge* reason to maintain them to a similar standard to my paid-for ones! What would be the point in putting out something poorly photographed and badly laid out and badly written... what impression would that give?). The traffic they generate is also a bonus - the percentage of folks that fly in, download a pattern or tutorial and then fly off again is massive, but my website still benefits from thousands and thousands of clicks a day.

And so what if a knitter doesn't buy a pattern after trying a free one? If they come back to download another free one then there's a value... not everything is measured in monetary gain. I asked in my Rav group how many customers started with a free pattern, and while the number wouldn't outweigh those who don't stick around, I've gained many loyal customers via this route and that pleases me no end.

I fully appreciate that not everyone can afford knitting patterns - I rarely have the spare cash to buy them. Whilst I need to put food on the table and convert a decent chunk of my working time into cash, I don't want to charge for everything I do; it's just not who I am. And on that note, I don't wish for the industry to become one that only serves the affluent. At least, not my corner of it. If folks only ever knit my free patterns, that's cool with me.

We are all free to make our own choices. I don't think the designer that puts out more than one free pattern is the enemy, especially when those free patterns don't really compare to the paid-for ones. It's up to us to make what we charge for worth charging for; I really do think that's the key... a simple design can be a clever design; a basic pattern can include lots of extras such as a wide range of sizes or illustrated tutorials. Word of mouth is the best advertising going - why would we waste that opportunity with poor content?

It's commonly said that free patterns hurt the industry, and that it's difficult for designers to sell patterns when there's so many free ones. Or that by putting out free patterns we under-value the work that goes into our paid-for patterns. Honestly, I don't think it's as black and white as that, for many of the reasons I've written above. I could understand this argument if all the free patterns were the same calibre as the paid-for ones, but they're not. There are instances when I agree with this point of view, but I can't agree in every case. It's back to that value thing; yes, we need to be mindful of our fellow designers, but we need to put things in perspective before we start telling others that they're hurting our business.

Hmm, this got a bit ranty! A consequence of feeling cornered over the issue, perhaps? ;)

Let me end this post with something positive: having just finished my year end accounts, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that despite the troubles this last year has seen, and despite having very little time to work and be on the forums and publish new designs, my turnover has seen only a small drop. Which in turn means that despite everything, you, my readers and my loyal customers, have continued your support and have kept me in business and have kept us comfortable. I'm very proud of that, thank you :)

 

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ETA/ the translated versions of these free patterns aren't in the new template yet... they need a bit of extra work and I'm mindful not to just copy and paste, as I won't easily see if I've put errors in! But they will be done, eventually :)