Spring is in the air – a new pattern and an offer.

Hello,

And I’ve released another pattern. This time it is the turn of the Carolyn Top.

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This top is perfect for spring and summer layering – I wore it on even the very hottest days last year as the silk merino blend I used is great at regulating temperature and the top is so light and airy.

Made in 4ply Manos Silk Blend Fino which has the most beautiful variegated colour ways, the top was specifically designed to work with variegated yarns (its rare to find crochet patterns that are) It was also designed with ease of wear and making in mind – its simple and quick to work up and suitable for beginners hoping to make their first garment.

The pattern is £4 and you can visit the pattern page or the Ravelry page

Because I want to help you get your handmade wardrobe ready for spring and summer I have a special offer:

Buy both Carolyn and Alyssium for just £6 until the end of March.

There is no coupon code needed and the offer will still be applied if you don’t buy them at the same time as long as they are both bought before March. To make it super easy to save, you can use this link to automatically add both to your basket.

Happy crocheting!

The photography is copyright Britt Spring, originally appeared in Inside Crochet and is used with their permission.

And shiny new patterns…

Its a bit of a week for new isn’t it? And two blog posts in two days – practically unheard of!

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Yesterday I  released my Alyssium Cardigan.

The pattern originally appeared in Issue 20 of Simply Crochet and I was delighted it was on the cover. In the magazine they called it Lilac Time but in my mind its always been Alyssium as talyssium_small2he delicate v-stitch reminded me of banks of the flower, which is one of my favourites. I have always loved the simplicity of this cardigan and I have worn the sample a lot since it was returned to me. Its been a favourite with readers too, I’ve seen lots of lovely makes on Ravelry, Instagram and Twitter.

It was through working on this cardigan that  Victoria and I met and decided to work together on the Bletchley Collection as it uses beautiful Eden Cottage Pendle 4ply. So when we shot the Bletchley Collection Victoria kindly agreed to photograph this cardigan for me. Her romantic photography style fits so well with this piece and I love the shots – they really reflect my original design vision.

For all the technical details head over to the pattern page or visit its Ravelry Page.

 

 

 

As if that wasn’t enough shiny newness, I just wanted to drop in a little teaser image for our upcoming book launch to whet your appetites.

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Yes, the new book from The Crochet Project is a book of shawls. Six different constructions are fully explained and explored to allow you to design your own easily and each construction type has a beautiful original pattern to illustrate it. Whether you are a beginner trying your very first shawl or an experienced crocheter wondering how to plan out a shawl design this is the book for you. Each example uses just  one 100g skein of fingering weight yarn so it is the perfect book for dealing with that stash – or an amazing excuse to grab that skein you have had your eye on.

The book will be launched at Edinburgh Yarn Festival – so if you are visiting be sure to come buy your copy! And talking of Edinburgh, tomorrow I hope to share the shiny new products we will be stocking at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. Watch this space…

Changes to the way I sell my patterns

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Framlingham – my best selling pdf knitting pattern

 

 

Due to the change in the law as of 1st January 2015 there will be some changes to the way I sell patterns that will affect my EU customers. I wrote a little about the venue changes here but I now have more information about how the love knitting and ravelry sales will work.

If you are based in an EU country that is not the UK and  buy a pdf pattern from me through Ravelry or my website you will be redirected to LoveKnitting to complete the purchase. You will need to create an account and provide your details to LoveKnitting. They will then complete the sale, the pattern will be added to your Ravelry library (if you were logged on to Ravelry) and the tax will be collected and remitted to the appropriate government.

Sadly, there was no way to set the redirection up so that the VAT was included in the pattern price so customers that are buying in the EU will pay the pattern price plus the VAT at the appropriate rate for their country. The price will be clearly displayed for you on screen.

Currently there is no way to run promotions using LoveKnitting so any discounts I offer will be unavailable to EU customers.

I am really sorry that this change is negatively affecting my EU customers. One way to buy my pattern at the usual price would be to go to your local yarn shop and ask if they use the Ravelry InStore download scheme. You will be able to ask them to download the pattern for you and will be charged the usual price (although they may charge for printing) I hope to upload my patterns to PatternFish soon who will handle the VAT and will charge my usual pattern price.   I will also be looking into print and other distribution options in the New Year.

I am based in the UK so do not have to charge VAT on sales to people buying pdf patterns in the UK. Nothing will change for you. You will not be redirected to make the purchase.

If you are outside of the EU when you buy a pattern there will be no change. You will not be redirected to make the purchase.

I believe that the redirection will take place based on the IP address of your computer or device so it may sometimes be the case that you are wrongly directed. If you believe this to be the case then please check with whoever is in charge of IT at work or at home or your internet service provider.

Introducing Colossus and Hut 8

Following on from the launch of my collection for Eden Cottage Yarns last week and the posts about the inspiration behind the collection, the crochet pieces and the knitted accessories, today I’d like to introduce you to the final two pieces, the knitted garments.

COLOSSUS

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Colossus was the first programmable digital computer and it was designed to assist the codebreakers in their work. Technology that would probably now fit on your fingertip takes a whole room and each connection is a physical cable rather than slivers of silicon. (Probably. I don’t actually know how all this works, I was software not hardware!) So there are cables everywhere, weaving in and out across the machine. This complex mess became the inspiration for this heavily cabled knitted tank top or vest. Here are the original sketch and swatch from the proposal:

Collosus Tank

The cables are a little more orderly in the knitted version and although complex looking, the twenty row repeat is easily learnt for a satisfying knit.

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What I really enjoyed about  designing this vest is the nice knitterly touches like the way the cables flow up the straps and the cabled waist shaping that echos the main pattern.

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It’s worked seamlessly in the round to the under arms where it is split and the back and front are worked separately in rows. You’ll need to be on your toes to stay in pattern and not lose your cable needle but other than that bit of concentration required there is nothing too challenging in the pattern. It took me a fair while to make – one friend was shocked to see me still knitting the same thing three weeks in a row, she’d never seen me do that before! (I think that was more to do with how busy life was at that point though!)

Elegant enough for even the most sophisticated Wren operator to wear as mufti, it looks just as good layered over a shirt for the office as it does with a long sleeved tee and jeans.

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I’m planning on doing a post showing all the garments a little more casually styled if people would be interested. I love the office smart feel we created for the shoot but its always nice to show how versatile a knit is, isn’t it?

View the pattern details.

 

HUT 8

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Hut 8 cardigan is my homage to the civilian admin staff who carried out the routine admin, including punching holes in cards and filing messages. Around 130 women worked on these admin tasks and are the unsung heroes of the war – without their support the code breakers wouldn’t have been able to do their work. Hut 8 is an ordinary, everyday knitted cardigan. Its not showy but it does its job elegantly. Its a workhorse, its a staple, it will be absolutely essential to your wardrobe. I wish I had the time to knit one in every colour because I’ve been wearing Hut 8 non stop since its release ( a bit before actually- shhhh! – I got impatient!) and I find it so comfortable and so flattering. Luckily it should be hard wearing with the rolled hems and cuffs, the high twist and 15% silk in the yarn.

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Because I like seeing them from other designers here is the original sketch of the design from the proposal (I wish I had some gorgeous wide legged trousers like these to team it with!)

Hut 8 Cardigan

Because I became a little obsessed with codes while working on the collection you will notice that the number eight comes up a lot in the pattern. Things get worked eight times, the garter stitch and stocking stitch bands are eight rows wide. See how many eights you can spot!

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The cardigan is knitted seamlessly in one piece from the top down which allows for easy adjustment for fit. The three quarter length sleeves are worked in the round from live stitches and the button band is worked as you go for minimal finishing. Once you’ve finished the knitting its ready to wash and wear. Its an easy enough knit to make it your first garment or first seamless garment, you can try it on as you go to check it is progressing as it should.

See the pattern details.

Introducing Bombe and Baudot

Last week I launched my new pattern collection The Bletchley Collection and I promised I would follow up with posts about the inspiration behind the project and each of the pieces. Today it is the turn of the two knitted accessories.

BOMBE

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The bombe machine was an electromechanical device designed by Alan Turing to find out the daily settings on the Enigma machine (that the Germans used to encode their messages.) The huge machine is made up of rows and rows of brightly coloured drums each of which emulated one of the rotors on the Enigma machine.

The bright drums of the bombe machine are stylised and turned into knitted colour work in this warm and practical cowl.

This is the original image from the proposal that shows the machine, sketch and swatch.

Bombe Cowl pic

As you can see, between sketch and design I changed my mind about the colour rotation. It made a more interesting knit and looked more like the machine if the contrast colour changed every pattern repeat. With no ends to worry about (they are all inside) practical considerations weren’t to stop me. This way each section uses just a few grams of sock yarn so the project is a great stash buster and can even be used as a memory project to use up the last scraps of special yarns on a beautiful neutral background.

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Worked in the round from a provisional cast on, the cowl is grafted together to form a seamless tube with no top or bottom, no right or wrongside. There is no shaping, a simple repeating pattern and no steeking to do, making this the ideal first colour work pattern. And because all ends are inside the work the usual colour work problem of weaving in a million ends doesn’t apply (thank goodness!)

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If provisional cast ons and grafting give you the heebie geebies fear not. There are full instructions for the grafting or, if you prefer, you can use a standard cast on and cast off and seam the join with mattress stitch.

See full details of the pattern.

 

 

BAUDOT

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Here is where it gets geeky folks!

When I first saw the punched paper tapes that were fed into the collosus machine I thought they looked like lace ribbons. The idea stuck firmly in my head and when I began swatching for the collection I was determined to make something that had a secret code knitted in. Here is that initial swatch and sketch.

Cipher Lace Beanie

The pretty lace pattern in the Baudot beanie hides a secret: it spells out two words in the baudot cipher: Knit and Tink.

(Tink is a term for unknitting, where a mistake is rectified by carefully undoing each stitch back to where the mistake occured. Tink is Knit spelt backwards.)

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Hopefully this easy lace pattern will see you doing more knitting that tinking! The pattern is made with yarn overs and k2tog decreases and is only worked on alternate rows (alternate rows are knit all the way around to give an attractive garter rib) so if you are new to lace this is a good place to start.

The hat is worked in the round from the brim to the crown using just one 50g skein. The crown is softly gathered rather than decreased which gives a lovely soft shape and has the advantage that there is no need to work on magic loops or double point needles as you reach the crown – it never decreases so that its shorter than the circular needle.

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I’ve worn this hat so much since I made it, the soft slouch is really flattering on most face shapes and its just right for the current cold snap.

See full details of the pattern.

Introducing Tunny and Morse Code

Hi,

Following on from the launch last week of my collection for Eden Cottage Yarns’ Milburn yarn range I promised some more detail about the inspiration behind the collection and each of the patterns in more detail.

Today I’d like to introduce you to the two crochet pieces in the collection, Tunny and Morse Code.

But firstly a quick note about why I decided to include crochet in the collection. Regular readers will know that I am pretty passionate about getting people to see that crochet can be used to make beautiful wearable pieces and luckily Eden Cottage are very supportive of crocheters and wanted to provide pattern support for them too. I do live in hope that by including some stunning crochet in this collection I might tempt one or two knitters over!

TUNNY

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The spiked cogs of the Lorenz cipher, nicknamed (or perhaps codenamed) the Tunny, gave inspiration for the cog like colour pattern on this hat.

Ever since watching Carrie’s War (BBC adaptation of the book by Nina Bawden) as a young girl I’ve been mildly obsessed with colourwork tams (she may not even have had one but in my head she does) so I knew I wanted to include one in this collection. This crochet version has the advantage of being able to give a Fair Isle feel without having to strand the colours – each colour is worked in turn. the circular spiked pattern would be hard to achieve in knitting but the crochet stitches are simple and easily memorised.

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(Because I love seeing them from other designers) I thought I’d show you the original sketch swatch and inspiration picture from the design proposal. I’m always amazed when I create something that is so like the original sketch!

Tunny Tam pics

If you look at the swatch you’ll see how the pattern looks in just two colours, the design can be easily adapted to use just two colours if you prefer (for aesthetic or financial reasons) just use MC when it calls for CC2.

The hat is crocheted in the round from the top down with the pattern being worked on the sides only to keep increasing simple. The brim is worked perpendicular to the crown and allows a finer degree of adjustment on the brim to get a perfect fit.

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The pattern is easy, suitable for adventurous beginners upwards, for the more experienced crocheter it makes a quick satisfying make and like all colour work, is an ideal a sock yarn stash buster.

See full details of the pattern.

 

 

 

 

MORSE CODE

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You can’t have a codebreaking collection without reference to morse code. A simple code of dots and dashes that can convey the worlds most complicated ideas and thoughts. Combine that with my love of crochet bobbles and this cardigan just had to be!


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This piece took more swatching than the rest of the collection to get the colour pattern just so. I experimented with lots of different ways of building in the pattern and how it should be spaced. In the end I went for an innovative technique that involves working a row twice, once in each colour and working with the chains from the first pass held to the back or too the front to make the dashes. You’ll see from this design sketch that originally I plannned to have the pattern around the hem and cuffs too but I changed my mind when I was making it, the design felt cleaner and better without.

Morse Cardigan

The shape of this piece is particularly 40s and I love the styles with patterned yokes separated by a band. I wanted to create a sleek and stylish crochet cardigan that is wearable but makes a statement. Blending the neutral blue with the pop of the mustard yarn on the pattern, cuffs, hems and button bands creates a cardigan that will turn heads.

Worked from the top down with set in sleeves this garment is a sophisticated make for an intermediate crocheter.

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If you haven’t worked the short rows needed for the sleeves before they are easy and fully explained in the pattern. If you are still nervous you might want to have a go when we run our crochet and knit alongs for the collection in the new year – I’ll be on hand to help then. Watch this space.

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See full pattern details.

Why Bletchley?

Hi,

As promised, I’m back to fill you in with a little more detail about the inspiration behind the collection I launched on Wednesday.

So why Bletchley?

Back in May, Victoria and I began to talk about the possibility of collaborating to create a small collection for the Milburn range. We wanted to include patterns for knitting and crochet to show off the versatility of this beautiful yarn. We wanted an emphasis on wearable, everyday, wardrobe staples as we are both passionate about knitting for a purpose. Milburn is just too nice to knit it and pop it in a drawer, its a yarn that cries out to be worn (and with the silk blend and relatively high twist it is soft enough to wear next to the skin but strong enough to withstand washing and wearing well)

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After receiving a bag with all the colours that currently existed (two more have been developed since) I was struck by the beautiful vintage palette and decided that the collection would at least tip its hat to the first half of the twentieth century.

A year or so before I had visited Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, the former home of the code breakers – Alan Turing and his team who cracked the enemy ciphers and enabled the Allies to understand the intercepted messages. I blogged about it here. I found the colours, shapes and imagery of the museum very inspiring and had made copious notes and sketches of ideas based on things I’d seen that day. Coming from a software engineering background, I loved the idea of including themes of early computing into my design work.

Yarn, colour and inspiration tied up and I put together a proposal to Victoria who was also excited by the idea.

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Over the six pieces in the collection I explored the early computing and encoding machines and the codes or ciphers loaded into them. I wanted to connect these ideas into items of clothing typically worn by off duty WRENs who manned the machines but in a modern wearable way, the shapes and styles tip a nod to the 1940s rather than trying to recreate them.

I thought a lot about wartime themes of rationing and shortage while I was creating the designs. Colourwork was very popular in the war as it enabled small scraps of yarn to be used up. All of the designs have a frugal use of this beautiful yarn in their fit and style.

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Victoria is very interested in the crochet I produce and was keen that there be some crochet pieces in the collection. Its quite rare for independent yarn producers to support crochet and I was delighted to be able to include both crafts.

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When we began planning the shoot we hardly dared hope that Bletchley would let us photograph the collection on site. There is a  no cameras rule on the park now. But in the spirit of “you don’t ask you don’t get” I emailed the site team and they couldn’t have been lovelier. They were very interested in the collection and supporting us, we were given free access for the day and allowed to shoot wherever we wanted. We drew a few strange looks and comments from the other visitors!

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I also got a little chance to see how the museum has developed since I last visited. The new displays are wonderful and really bring the era to life with amazing use of interactive technology. I spotted lovely touches like vintage typewriters on each desk and a hand-knitted cardigan thrown over the back of the secretary’s chair. The make do and mend display of knitwear was still out too (in the room behind the post office.) I recommend a trip if you haven’t been recently.

The site was absolutely perfect for a shoot (even if it hadn’t been the subject matter) as it has such a wonderful array of colours and textures and beautiful vistas. We were very lucky with the light too. It was mid September and overcast which gave several hours of diffused natural light in which to get the shots we needed.

Over the next week I will be introducing each design and showing you how it went from inspiration to sketch to finished object. I do hope you’ll pop back to see.

Teasers

If you follow me or Eden Cottage Yarns on social media you will have seen the teaser shots for my upcoming collection over the past week. I thought I’d share them here in preparation for the launch this Wednesday.

PicMonkey Collage

I can’t wait to show you more.

Watch this space.

10/12/14.

 

PS: the yarn used is Milburn 4ply – in case you want to stock up!

A very special commission (with a crochet recipe)

This week the weather turned distinctly colder around these parts and gloves and big woolly jumpers were dusted off and gladly put on in the mornings. My littlest was admiring my fingerless mits and asked if I could make her a pair please.

Her favourite colours are pinks and purples so we had a little stash raid and found some suitable yarn. I say “suitable” with some reservation, Manos Silk Blend Fino feels a little decadent for a three year old, but it seemed daft to go buy a ball of acrylic something rather than use what I had.

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I whipped up the first mitt in no time while we watched some morning tv together and she was so pleased with it she kept stroking it and insisted on wearing it through breakfast. No pressure to finish the second one then! Luckily I made it while we were on a playdate with her bestie and she has been wearing them and looking after them.

 

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Making these simple little mitts for her reminded me why I started knitting again and learnt to crochet. There is something so lovely about being able to make just the thing that is needed for someone you love.

In case anyone is interested here is the recipe:

Materials:

Manos Silk Blend Fino in Jewel.

4mm hook.

Method:

I worked 20 stitches and 14 rows in linked trebles and then slip stitched the edges together for 10 stitches, slip stitched one side only for 3 stitches then slip stitched the remaining 7 stitcheswith both edges held together. Fasten off, weave in the ends. One happy girl.

 

Introducing the Hill Top Hat

If you are looking for a quick and easy make to keep you snuggley this winter, look no further. Using under 100g of DK or aran/worsted weight yarn and a 5.5mm hook its cost effective and  quick.

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The original version appeared in Simply Crochet Issue 10 and its been polished up, new photos taken that show it off a little better and uploaded for you to make just in time for Winter or (dare I say it?) a little Christmas gifting.

The sample is made in Fyberspates Scrumptious DK which is a really soft, drapey yarn with a lovely sheen. If you want to substitute make sure you pick something that feels silky so that it will drape in the same way. Scrumptious DK is among the heavier DKs, almost towards an aran or worsted weight so bare this in mind if substituting. Noro fans might like to try a skein of Silk Garden as the pattern should work well for blending the colours and giving a really different look to the hat.

I designed the hat with simplicity in mind and I love the way it lets the yarn do the talking.

 

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The pattern is simple enough to make this a good first pattern reading project. The only slightly tricky bit is the raised trebles but I will post a tutorial covering that later this week. Its good to learn a new skill.

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I’m thinking of running a CAL* for this hat if there is enough interest. Let me know in the comments if you fancy it.

*for the uninitiated, a CAL or crochet a-long is where a group of people all make the same pattern and help each other out. They are a good way to try out new skills and (virtually) meet other crocheters.