This design was originally published in issue 122 of The Knitter in March 2018 and now the rights have reverted to me I’m really keen to get into my Ravelry Pattern Store. I must admit to having a bias towards charts when it comes to designing and because of this I haven’t properly catered for knitters who find them off putting so I really must apologise for that. With this in mind when releasing this pattern I’ve decidedto include both charts and full written instructions so it’s a bit more appealing to both chart lovers and chart haters.
This means additional tech editing which will happen over the next couple of weeks so my release date is set for 12th April.The PDF pattern will also include lots of juicy close up shots and links to video tutorials for some of the techniques used. You can *pre-order the pattern by going to my Ravelry Pattern Store. I recently reached an amazing 10,000 followers on Instagram which has both amazed and humbled me. Thank you all so much. So to celebrate there’s 20% off the Riley Stripe pattern and the rest of my designs from 0:00 am March 21st until 23:59 GMT March 24th 2019. Theres no minimum purchase and no code required. The discount will be applied when you checkout.
See you the other side of EYF
*When pre-ordering Riley Stripe you’ll receive a temporary PDF with some basic information about the yarn required, on release date this will be updated to the full tech edited pattern in PDF format
No 1 Skeete Road is a lace design worked on a 4.50 mm needle and for those of you who love a stashbuster project – and let’s face it who doesn’t – it takes just one hank of 4ply / fingering weight yarn. This design came about through me falling in love with a yarn back when I wrote the Yarn Reviews for Knitting Magazine. As someone who’s a bit of a sucker for an alpaca yarn I knew from the moment I unwound the hank of John Arbon’s Alpaca Delight that knitting a sample swatch wasn’t going to be enough, somehow I had to keep hold of the rest of the yarn. Promising to create a design that would take just one hank meant that not only could I hold onto it for just a bit longer but I could also scratch my creative itch too.
This triangular shaped shawl / scarf is worked from the top down with a rectangular panel of lace forming a central spine. In it a 28 row repeating pattern produces pentagon shaped lacy motifs whilst the wings of the piece are worked in a simple 2 row stitch that produces contrasting columns of lace on either side. Pointed edges give this design a fun feminine finish and as you can see when blocking it’s worth taking a bit of time to accentuate each of these points with pins.
This design gets it’s name from a road in the St Michael parish on the island of Barbados (where my parents were born) which lies in the south western part of the island near the capital Bridgetown. The original Skeete Rd is split into two parts – Nos 1 & 2 – and whilst developing the central lace pattern I thought it would be interesting to explore this same central lace motif in three (rather than just two) different shaped projects and thus design, No 1, is the first of this collection. I’ll be developing the others over the next few months and releasing all three together when the rights for this design revert back to me in 6 months time.
It’s always interesting to see how my designs are styled in magazines and Christine Boggis Knitting’s editor has gone for a classic feminine look in the current issue whilst I’m more likely to wear it wrapped back to front around my neck as a scarf. And as Alpaca Delight is a deliciously soft blend of 70% Superfine Alpaca / 30% Organically farmed Falklands Merino it’s guaranteed to keep me warm without that irritating tickle. In terms of colour the 7 pastel shades available in Alpaca Delight are all very delicate so if for example Raspberry which I’ve used here isn’t your style, why not search through your stash and dig out 100g of fingering weight yarn in a much bolder colour? I’d love to see the results.
You’ll find the pattern for No 1 Skeete Road in the current issue (no 188) of Knitting Magazine
I think I first posted about working with this shade of Rowan’s Cotton Rope back in July last year and as is often the case, it’s been languishing in my stash for years before that. Although my memory is pretty shocking nowadays I clearly remember the day this yarn joined the realms of the Sloan Stash. I’d bought it as stock whilst running HKhandknit in Edinburgh and fell in love with the colour as soon as I clapped eyes on it. It sat, and sat and sat on the shelves for a whole summer (obviously at the time too bright for my Edinburgh customers) and when Rowan decided to discontinue it I felt it would be happiest and best appreciated in my possession. All 22 balls of it.
So fast forward to today and I’ve finally cast off the cardigan that that precious, fantastic coloured yarn has finally become. It seems to have been a long road to get to this point but that may largely be due to the fact everything involving numbers, concentration and memory can often feel like pulling teeth if my brain isn’t playing ball. I vaguely remember first dragging the yarn out of the loft back in 2015 PreC (pre craniotomy) but didn’t start doodling on paper until July 2017 PostC (post craniotomy). It wasn’t until I tidied my office almost exactly 12 months later that I moved a hug pile of fabric I’d been using to make cushions and came across the abandoned wip squashed into the bottom of a basket with my ‘missing’ 6 mm Knit Pro tips and 80 cm cable. Since my surgery I’ve dreaded making discoveries like this. Not as you’d imagine, because of the guilt you normally feel because you haven’t finished yet another project. It’s trying to get back into the headspace I was in when I drew up those original sketches and made those initial calculations which is so much like reading the work of a stranger that it fills me with such dread it sometimes causes enough stress to bring on a migraine.
Thankfully though in this case I was so genuinely pleased to have found 1. the yarn again – I mean THAT COLOUR!!! – and 2. those bloody 6mm tips (I thought they’d gone for good) that I just went right back to the drawing board. Bizarrely enough for a ‘me’ knit I’d actually made lots of helpfully detailed written notes about what I was thinking so it actually wasn’t as difficult as I thought to pick up where I’d left off . So, after making a couple of changes ( dropping the needle size to 5.50mm) I was soon up and running again. Ok there’s been a bit of frogging but the combination of this yarn, large needles and the deliciously textured purl twist stitch I used on Mrs T’s Mittens made this a really really enjoyable design to knit. Now it’s finally cast off I’m really pleased with the results.
I wanted a relaxed, boxy knit that would be easy to wear in the summer when the sun’s gone down and it gets a bit chilly. Because of the chunky weight of the yarn I wanted very few seams so it’s actually worked in one piece on a long circular needle whilst slipped stitches on the wrong side of the garment give the appearance of a seam but without the bulk.
There’s a wide panel of purl twist texture in the centre back which is matched by the front facing bands which are worked as you knit, rather than added on afterwards (again avoiding any joins) and these run on over the shoulders to join at the centre back of the neck. Ah yes, that join. There were a couple of issues with the neckband as I’d originally envisaged grafting it together but after a couple of failed attempts where it just didn’t look of feel right I plumped for casting off both sets of stitches off together which I’m much happier with.
All in all I love the results.
Would I knit it again? Definitely. Probably a winter version with sleeves.
Would I make any changes? Mmmm probably, after all there’s always something you could tweak to make improvements. But for now I’m happy that this keeps summer going just a little bit longer. That and the fact that we’re off to Corsica for a week on Saturday!
At my age I’m more excited than I should be about going on holiday but we’ve been through a lot since our last foreign break seven years ago so to celebrate I’m having a sale over on Ravelry. There’s 25% off all patterns from now until the end of September – no code needed – so you could get a headstart on some of that C*#!+%?mas gift knitting whilst I head off to the sun. Sorry it’s just too early to use that particular ‘C word’.
You’ll find my Ravelry Pattern Store here. I’m off to pack
It’s been a long time since I posted anything on Youtube. So long in fact that I couldn’t remember my login password and had to frequently search back through my archive for clues to access it again. I post pretty frequently on other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (which I still can’t get my poor head around) but only started my Youtube channel because there were a couple of techniques used in my designs that I felt could be best illustrated by video tutorial. The trouble is that since posting my first two videos for twisted chainstitch and the Edie infinity scarf5 YEARS AGO all has gone quiet on the Youtube front. Oh the shame. I’m not going to try and come up with any lame excuses like ‘I’m not very organised’ or ‘I was a bit ill’ because you already know them both to be true but I will promise that I’ve got a number of techniques that I know would make good, and more importantly helpful video tutorials and it’s something that I’m interested in developing. So with that in mind let’s start afresh with the latest video for the three colour cast on.
This is a lovely, colourful braided cast on technique that is used to kick off my Hove Actually sweater design. It’s based on the long tail cast on method so if you’re more used to casting on using a two needle method you may find this a bit of a challenge at the start but it’s definitely worth persevering. As I said I’d like to do more of these videos so it would be great to get some feedback. If you think there are things that could be improved upon just leave a comment under the 3 colour cast video on Youtube or even on here, it would be lovely to hear from you.
I hope you enjoy it and most importantly find it useful
There’s been a significant lack of knitting & designing going on in my life recently and rather than bang on about the reasons why I thought instead that I’d focus on something more positive. My latest design for issue 122 of The Knitter magazine which has just hit the shops.
‘Riley Stripe’ is a design that’s partly inspired by the work of British painter Brigit Riley. Her signature Op Art paintings play with simple geometric shapes like squares, circles and rectangles to stunning optical effect. She began her first Op Art paintings in 1960 whilst on a part time teaching post at Hornsey College of Art initially choosing to work just in black and white and only cautiously introducing colour from around 1967. At this stage she began to explore the precise placement of colour, line and shape in addition to the grouping of colour in order to convey a feeling of movement in the paintings which led onto works like Cataract 3 below.
Anyway back to this design….
More generously proportioned than a simple scarf I’d call this more of a wrap as the size makes it perfect for draping around the shoulders to keep out the slightest chill and it’s lightweight enough for wearing whatever the season. Riley Stripe features two different stitch patterns, each made up of a combination of slip stitch blocks, single columns and garter stitch stripes.
The first section of the wrap begins with a two colour cast on and a textured pattern with large blocks of slip stitch alternated with garter stitch stripes. These square blocks create a series of attractive curves up the side edge of the piece that eventually become the bottom edge of the wrap once you’ve picked up from the other side edge to knit the longer section in the smaller scale pattern.
This is really a design that explores contrasts; there’s both large and small scale pattern plus the ‘pick up and knit’ off the side edge of section one which places them at 90 degrees to each other. Then there’s the contrasting yarns which both come from the Isager yarn range. It might seem slightly odd to bring together Highland Wool (a 100% wool light fingering weight) with Viscolin (a 50% viscose 50% linen 4ply weight) but I really love the mix and actually it was playing with yarn combinations that inspired this particular match. As well as being beautifully lightweight the finished knitted fabric has a softness and warmth but there’s also a lovely bouncy quality due to the garter stitch. Once the finished wrap has been cast off (a two colour cast off to match the cast on of course) and given a gentle block and steam it also drapes like a dream.
If you haven’t tried a two colour cast on before I’m planning to do a couple of video tutorials to demonstrate this and the two colour cast off so keep an eye out for a blog post when they’re done. There really aren’t any other tricky techniques to master other than that and once you’re set for alternating the yarns it’s a really enjoyable knit, especially if you’ve had enough of heavy winter projects.
Brigit Riley may well have used black & white to knit her version of Riley Stripe but as you know I’m very much from ‘the brighter the better’ school of thought so I chose to use Highland Wool in Rhubarb (shade 3) and Viscolin in shade 40. I thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating and knitting this design and really hope you like it too.
I know it’s a couple of days into 2018 but it’s never to late to wish you a Happy New Year! Well obviously saying it in August might be a little daft but you know what I mean. Happily for me the dawn of a new year also means celebrating another birthday and this year it was the biggie – the belter – the big 5 – 0.
If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that there have been several interesting occurrences in my life (I normally hate the phrase ‘challenging’ but that is what they’ve been). A number of serious illnesses over the last 30 years meant that I genuinely didn’t think I’d get to 50 at all but I am truly blessed to have done so meaning this New Year’s Eve celebrations were extra special. If you follow me over on instagram (@jeanettesloan) you’ll have seen a number of videos where I’m dancing around like an idiot and to be honest I make no apologies for that. I’ve embraced my 50th birthday with all the enthusiasm of a small child and whilst that meant that a whole evening prancing about the lounge in high heels made my knees and ankles agony when I woke the next morning I’m still giggling about the amazing time I had surrounded by the some of the best people I’m privileged to know. Among them are my friends Lee & Nicci who part way through the evening, produced this incredible birthday cake which literally made my eyes well up with tears. I’ve known Lee since we lived up in Edinburgh and have come to know Nicci over the last few years and for this beautiful couple to take so much time and trouble to create this stunning confection for a knitty old lady like me really blew me away.
Nicci & Lee are huge foodies and with Lee being an art director with a perfectionist’s eye for detail it’s no surprise that the cake is so wonderfully bright, skilfully executed and of course ….delicious. (It had a spiced apple cake centre and the balls of ‘wool’ were made from sponge mixed with chocolate ganache). Nicci & Lee are a lovely couple and as they’re getting married this summer whoever is tasked with making their wedding cake had better up their game.
You’d assume that reaching the ripe old age of 50 I’d have some sage words of advice to give? Nah, not really. That the new year has prompted me to write another long list of resolutions I’m bound to break before the month of January is out? Not a chance.
My only resolution is NOT to make any New Year’s resolutions. Having reached this ripe old new age I’ll be holding my family and friends more closely (sorry guys) and enjoying every moment of the new challenges (that word again) that 2018 will bring. A number of them will take me away from knitting but the ‘pins’ will never be too far away. Like many of us I’ve put on weight over the festive period and knitting in front of the telly is the only thing that will stop me stuffing my face with food. So as part of spreading the love I’ve got a bit of a promotion going in my Ravelry Pattern Store where there’s 50% off all my patterns for the next 5 days (discount ends at midnight 8th January GMT) just click here
Thanks for reading my ramblings and whatever you’re doing in 2018 I wish you love, peace, happiness and health
Ok so it’s not you, it’s me (I remember an ex-boyfriend saying that to me once…..just before he unceremoniously dumped me). Life has been busy as ever looking after Ma & Pa Trot but now they’re settled in their flat and FINALLY have a landline (though no broadband) due to me nagging BT for over a month I’m trying to fit in some work too.
As well as working on a couple of freelance design commissions for this Winter season I’m also going to be submitting a couple more for Spring / Summer 2018. Yes I know the clocks haven’t yet gone back and I’ve mentioned Summer already. That’s just how it is in the lovely design world, always looking forward whilst somehow, frequently looking back.
On the subject of looking back last Thursday I had the great pleasure of spending the day on the Erika Knight stand at the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. It was a wonderful opportunity to spend the day with Erika & Bella, two of my favourite people, and meet lots of fantastic knitters, stitchers and all round lovers of creativity who were attending the show and drinking in all of the inspiring kits, yarns, buttons, patterns, fabrics and countless other products, teach-ins & workshops that were packed into the five day event.
Having missed out on the show last year due to the ‘brain squatters’ I was really proud to be on the stand along with my Constance cowl pattern which formed part of the design collection made using Erika’s British Blue 100 yarn. Although I wasn’t expecting it the show was also a great opportunity to catch up with lots of friends from my days as a Rowan Design Consultant which brought back so many truly warm and fond memories.
Despite meaning to take a lot more pictures and make a sneaky yarn purchase I didn’t do either but here’s a peek of what I did see, sorry there aren’t more. As they used to say in school, must try harder next time. If you managed to get to the show I really hope you had a great time and you’re busily working away at your new projects.
This is a stunning collection of bags from a selection of well known fashion designers including Patrick Cox, Henry Holland & Lulu Guinness each embroidered by London company Hand & Lock.
Hand & Lock embroidered handbags
Probably the highlight of my day was meeting the warm, funny and hugely talented Sarah Hazell. Somehow, despite us both having worked for Rowan as DCs, both designed for Erika and following each other on social media we’d never met until last week. As you can see we were pretty pleased to have put that right.
I know this post may seem a little aimless (sorry) but the head is a little squiffy today having had a migraine yesterday plus I’m getting a lot of words back to front and I’ve still got my column for Knitting still to write.