Radio silence

The reason you’ve not heard a lot from me over the last week is because I had a busy and stressful week that was thankfully peppered with the odd joyful moment that kept me from falling into utter panic. Back in the days of the old brain the design commission  I was working on would generally have taken me less than a week to knit, then translate into written pattern instructions with charts for submission to the appropriate magazine. However with the new brain it turns out that even knitting one of my own designs whilst enjoyable, was also exhausting and frustrating almost in equal measure.

The design in question is a simple slash neck sweater in mosaic and purl stitch texture and it was originally designed last March (I think) before the brain squatters were diagnosed. Having decided on a simple, easy to wear silhouette I was really looking forward to getting started. Having cast on and knitted the first few repeats I thought I’d got the hang of the 16 row pattern.  Then of course I’d lose where I was  or just rock on for a few rows forgetting to decrease when needed so back I’d go, rip, rip, ripping it out and cursing under my breath. Damn brain! It took longer than planned and took more yarn than requested due to a definite difference between Rowan’s old denim and the new definitely skinnier-in-the-fingers ‘Original Denim’. (Just a word of caution, if you’re planning on knitting a vintage Rowan Denim design using the newer yarn take the time to swatch before you cast on for the garment).

By the time I’d finished sewing it up over a year after it was originally submitted although I’m happy with the results my lack of confidence issues mean there were lots of nagging doubts whilst I was knitting and praying that the commissioning magazine is equally as pleased. Oh and that it fits ok.

It was only once I’d cleared the decks and finally posted the garment off  that I could truly, truly relax. I’m not sure in what issue of the The Knitter it will appear but here’s a little sneak peek of the lovely purl and mosaic textures.

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Put simply..thank you

31 Day Challenge Day 11

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First I must apologise for this post being a day late and once you’ve read this post I hope you’ll understand why.

Having used a PC for more years than I care to remember, after a LOT of nagging from Sam I eventually made the move to Apple last year and treated myself to a MacBook. Fast forward 14 months and I still haven’t really got to grips with how the damn thing works and yes, ok so there’s been a very good reason why. Whilst the day to day stuff is very straightforward my brain just ‘flatlines’ when it comes to loading new programs as this works very differently on a Mac compared to the Windows platform. So with some design work to complete I needed to invest in some new charting software and thought, having heard lots of good things about it, that I’d give Stitchmastery a try. Well TRY I did….and try…and try…then I gave up because my brain had had enough….then I tried again (and just to clarify the fault lies with me not the program). Throughout this process I emailed Cathy at Stitchmastery for technical help and though I must have driven her to absolute distraction she was prompt in replying, patient, polite and incredibly helpful.

So Cathy whilst this isn’t the most innovative use of your genius charting software (I hope you’ll excuse my first attempt at using it) I just wanted to say a huge thank you

New 4ply Design – #3 Brighton

This is the last of the new designs in Baby Alpaca / Silk 4ply (for now) and appropriately, with only 2 days to go before Unwind kicks off, it’s called Brighton.

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 This design is worked in single coloured rows on a circular needle which creates an interesting two tone lace effect which has a wonderfully springy texture. If you’re dreading the thought of having to use a circular needle, fear not. This technique is simple to work once you get the hang of it and is perfect for a scarf because it’s reversible so there’s no  ‘wrong’ side to worry about.

The scarf is not only named in honour of my hometown here in the UK but like many of my designs it celebrates my West Indian heritage as there’s also a Brighton in Barbados where my parents were born. I chose the combination of Calypso with Caramel because they bring together the warm brown tones of the shingle beach with the bright clear blue of the sea and to add a hint of peril the scarf is finished at each end with a Shark’s Tooth lace edge.

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Brighton (the scarf, not the city) only takes 2 balls of Baby Alpaca/ Silk 4ply and the like the Skinny Winnie the pattern is available from the website on the FREE PATTERNS  page and you’ll also find the kit for sale in the Online Shop. So, if the combination of Calypso & Caramel doesn’t work for you, there’s the option to put your own colourway together.

I’m off to make up kits for the weekend

J x

New 4ply Designs – #1 Diamond Corner Shawl

I’ve taken a break from my Unwind prep to post about the first of 3 new designs. Each uses my Baby Alpaca/Silk 4ply and will be available from 10.00am tomorrow 10th July, timed of course to celebrate Unwind!

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Firstly there’s the Diamond Corner Shawl which is knitted in sh 879 Mist. I’ll not lie, this  bat shaped design is a big knit as the width across the top is 193 cm or if you prefer 76 inches. It begins on single point needles with a panel worked in a lace pattern that undulates from picot cast on to picot cast off for 86 cm (33 3/4 in). After this you’ll need a long circular needle for the side wings which are created by both picking up and purling into the side of the central spine and casting on extra stitches. Once the lace pattern has been established decreases worked at the side edges and centre help to create the batwing shape. I found when I was swatching that this central double decrease has an intriguing effect on the regular columns of the lace pattern and it was this cornering effect that inspired the design’s name

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I’m not a huge fan of picking up and knitting on edges with a design of this size so instead I’ve added a picot detail to the beginning of each row which means that once you’ve cast off the shawl is complete. In terms of skill level I would say this design is aimed at intermediate knitters and above due to the size of the shawl and the way in which it’s constructed. You can download the pattern for £3.00 from my Ravelry Pattern Store from 10.00am GMT tomorrow and you’ll find the kit available to buy on the Jeanette Sloan Design website where there’s 10% off until midnight 13th July.

Hope you like it

J x

Danie Cabled Gloves

ImageHere’s the latest release from the Warm Hands, Warm Hearts collection. Danie is a cute but grown up glove pattern that combines twisted stitch ribs, moss stitch  and a twisting cable that wanders up the back of each hand

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The design started out as an idea that became fingerless gloves for my husband Sam. In this case the cable leads upwards from the back of the hand where the 2nd and 3rd fingers are worked in rib whilst the other fingers and thumb are plain stocking stitch. (The palm of the hand is worked entirely in stocking stitch). I knitted the gloves in the Fuchsia shade of my Baby Alpaca DK and couldn’t resist tipping the rib in Chestnut as a contrast. For me it just finishes the glove off perfectly.

I must say a huge thank you to my beautiful niece Danielle after whom the pattern is named and of course Sam for the lovely photographs. The pattern for Danie is now available as a PDF download from my Raverly Pattern Store here.

Happy knitting until the next post

J x

Bramble Lace Cape, Knitting Magazine issue 123

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I’ve just received my copy of the December issue of Knitting Magazine and looks what’s made the cover… my Bramble Lace Cape!

It’s knitted in my Chunky Baby Alpaca and I chose the wonderfully rich red Raspberry Twist shade because, well just because the theme for this issue was ‘Christmas Elegance’. I think that Emma and the team at Knitting have done another great job with the styling creating a festive vibe without going too over the top and having my design featured on the cover is a great way to end the year.

The cape is very simply shaped as it’s knitted flat on a circular needle (due to the width of the piece) with columns of Bramble Stitch alternating with columns of lace. Once the required length has been knitted and the centre back seam joined, the deep rib collar is added by picking up and working into the side edges. It’s knitted on 6 mm needles which means there’s still enough time left for you to make one for popping on with your party dress this Christmas.

Alternatively you could pop over to the website where readers of Knitting can get an exclusive 10% off the knitting kit. Whether you knit one to give or buy the kit I think either would make a lovely Christmas gift. Just use the code given on page 66 when you get to the checkout http://www.jeanettesloandesign.com/

Until the next post, happy knitting and keep warm

J x

Tribal Tote pattern now available

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This design was originally published in issue 95 of Knitting magazine so I have to admit to being more than a little lax in adding it to the website. In fact I didn’t realise it was missing until I got a message from  a lovely member on Ravelry asking where she could get a hold of the pattern. (Thanks kubakat, I owe you). So, having done a bit of wizadry I’ve now formatted the pattern which is finally available to download in pdf form from both the website and my Ravelry Pattern Store.

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It’s a boldy coloured design worked in the round on double pointed needles which is created using the modular knitting method. For those who don’t know that means after knitting the initial square, each subsequent square is added by using a combination of casting on and picking up stitches into the base of previously cast on edges. It also means that once all 21 squares have been knitted the amount of final making up is kept to a minimum ~ good news for those of you who hate all that sewing up. That said, the colourful stripe effect is achieved by using Anchor’s Wash & Filz It Multicolour yarn with odd stripes of solid contrast yarns thrown in to create flashes of interest. Whilst this does give a great effect all this chopping and changing of yarns does however mean that there are lots of ends to sew in as you can see below.

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Once all the ends have been dealt with and the bag sewn together the pointed top edge of the bag is completed to create a straight edge then it’s off to the washing machine for felting…actually strictly speaking that should be fulling but I’ve called it felting for so long that using any other word seems odd.

Whatever your preferred word the process of shrinking makes the bag more rigid and blurs the striped squares taking it from this….

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to this

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A simple wooden handle sourced from Kleins (London) attached with leather thonging completes the tribal look. Since designing the bag the handle has actually been discontinued but a similar style can be found at www.sewinspiring.co.uk.

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The pattern, which includes full instructions and detailed schematics for constructing the bag, is available as a pdf download from my JeanetteSloanDesign website http://www.jeanettesloandesign.com/ourshop/prod_2642784-Tribal-Tote.html or from my Pattern Store on Ravelry http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tribal-tote

Happy knitting

J x