Hove Actually, The Knitter issue 112

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Well, just like buses, you don’t design anything for a couple of years and when your creative mojo does finally return both designs hit the shops in the same month. No complaints from me though. Given how life looked at this point last year I realise how very blessed I am.

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My latest design Hove Actually has just been published in issue 112 of The Knitter. It was  originally submitted back in March of last year when I was blissfully unaware of the interesting turn the year would take just a couple of months later with the diagnosis of two brain tumours. Understandably this meant that I couldn’t complete the commission but fortunately when I approached Kirsty McLeod ( The Knitter’s Commissioning Editor) back in January of this year, she still wanted to use it.

In a lot of ways this design reflects how my life has changed over the last 12 months. I really wanted to create a simply shaped, relaxed jumper. You know, the sort you’d throw on with a pair of linen trousers if you were going for a beach walk on a bright sunny day. (And in a strange echo of things to come, although it wasn’t the case when I came up with the design, we now live just 3 minutes from the sea). Worked in one of my all time favourite yarns, Rowan Denim, along with Handknit Cotton it has a boxy body and slash neck that help to give it a relaxed feel.

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In terms of techniques both body and sleeves begin with a 3 colour braided cast on then continue with a 2 colour border worked in mosaic stitch that splits at the sides just above the hips. The main body uses the same chart as the border but it’s worked in a single colour in simple knit & purl texture that will develop in character as the denim yarn fades beautifully with each wash.  In fact the whole garment will age gently the more it’s worn and washed, it’s one of the reasons I chose to use the denim yarn.

I tend not to name my designs until after I’ve knitted them but wanted to celebrate something of a new beginning having been given a clear bill of health (again), our move to the seaside and of course the standing joke that if you ask a Hove resident if they live in Brighton, the reply usually comes back in a flash. ‘No, Hove actually’.

 

I love the way the garment turned out and the styling in the magazine suits the design perfectly. As I said it’s been a while since my work has featured in The Knitter and this issue sees the launch of a new look cover along with a new series of 8 page pullout booklets. Issue 112 also has designs by Liz Lovick, Emma Vining, Kaffe Fassett, Mary Henderson, Penny Hemingway, Pat Menchini, Kyle Kunnecke, Chloe Webster, Helen Ardley. So understandably I’m truly honoured that they chose to feature Hove Actually along with an interview I did with the lovely Helen Spedding just a couple of months ago in the first of these spreads.

I’m not sure how worthy I am of being described as ‘inspirational’ I but felt very humbled (and more than a little bit emotional)  when it arrived in the post this morning. The weather is supposed to be ‘scorchio’ here this weekend so grab a copy, get down to the beach (or just sit in the sun) and enjoy!

Jx

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On The Tiles Clutch Bag

Well hello!

Yes I remember back in January when I did the #31daychallenge that it was meant to get me blogging more regularly but over the past week the building work has had to take priority. We’re still living on ready meals (albeit very delicious ones from Cook), we’re still at the mercy of a temperamental immersion heater that produces water so hot it’s like standing under a boiling kettle so we switch it off 8 hours before we actually want to shower and yes I’m still washing the dishes in a plastic crate in the bath. BUT we’re definitely on the home straight.

The walls have now been plastered and the first ‘miscoats’ of white emulsion paint applied. I’m actually a little worried about how much light bounces around the newly extended kitchen / dining / lounge room. When I was painting last week it was so eye piercingly bright that it actually caused a migraine – no really,  I’m serious. I had to take two Sumatriptan and go to bed for an hour. Thankfully Sam and my nephew Jas were both around to pick up the slack, it’s amazing how hard a 19 year old will work when there’s hard cash involved. Anyway we’re definitely making progress – well the builders are – and we may even take delivery of the new kitchen by the end of the week. So with all this going on I completely forgot that my latest design has just been published in the July issue of Knitting Magazine.

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On The Tiles is a simply shaped clutch bag knitted in a pure wool yarn that’s then felted in a washing machine. It’s knitted in The Little Grey Sheep Hampshire Chunky which is a yarn I first saw when I visited Unravel back in February and I have to admit it was love at first sight. It’s rounded with a soft, lofty feel and a hints of black/grey and ecru that add lots of interest to the colour. I normally start with a sketch of the design but in this case we (that’s my editor Christine and I) had got chatting to Emma from TLGS about the possibility of a design and I had to select the colours then and there.  It wasn’t easy as the range of shades that Emma has put together is truly tempting and although I went for my usual spicy combinations of rust, reds and pinks I thought it would be interesting to venture in a different direction colourwise.

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Each of the 19 colours is intriguingly named after places and people in Hampshire so rather than my default combo of Mickelmersh (a weathered rust) and Sense and Sensibility (pinky brick red) I eventually plumped for Dragon Racing (a dirty teal) and Walking the St Swithuns Way  (a gobliny green with a touch of yellow).

 

fullsizeoutput_526Having chosen colours I knew that I wanted a stitch that would work as a stripe with some sort of texture where one colour ‘intruded’ in some way onto the next. I absolutely love the swatching process and after a few experiments found the combination of slipping certain stitches then eventually knitting them ‘out of order’ created an elongated stitch that worked as I’d imagined. As an added bonus it also created a scalloped edge that could be used as a feature cast on at the opening edge of the finished bag. I’ll admit that the stitch pattern does take a while to get your brain around it but if my wonky brain can manage then I’m sure you’re up to the challenge.

Once knitted the bag is felted and then the making up process begins. Now I really am not a fan of saggy knitted bags so as well as felting I thought that lining the bag with a heavyweight interfacing would help the bag keep it’s shape when used. I’ve recommended pelmet interfacing but since making the bag have found that Decovil interfacing has a nice heavyweight that works better. It’s slightly more expensive than standard interfacing but worth it for the quality, I found it here at Cotton Patch where you can buy it by the 1/4 metre. As it’s not the most straight forward making up process to interface and insert the lining into the bag so I’ll be posting a tutorial over on the website (which is currently being updated) so keep an eye out for that. I’d be interested to hear what you think about the design and would love to see what colour combinations you’ll be coming up with when you make your version of On The Tiles ( use #onthetilesclutchbag on twitter and Instagram and I’ll find you). Oh and the name? The way that one coloured stripe stacks on top of the next reminded me of tiles, plus it’s a great sized bag for carry the basics when you’re on a night out. Or perhaps it’s the influence of all this building work….

In the meantime I’d better get some knitting done, I’ve got a couple of design submissions to work on….and kitchen appliances to source.

J x

 

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