25 Mar 2017

Reversible Knitting Stitches E-Book - An update and a request



Exciting news about our E-Book, Reversible Knitting Stitches - we are now working on a print version of this book and hope to have that available by the end of the summer!

We have almost finished reformatting this ready for printing and hope to get everything through the various editing stages soon.


We are also releasing a new update for the E-Book today. This includes a new sample, Textured Knot Stitch, in Chapter 1. This is one of my new favourite stitches and we just had to include it in the book.


We have also added Anna's beautiful Nokomis Beach Bag as an extra project idea in Chapter 4. I am totally in love with this bag so we wanted to squeeze it in. 

There are also some new sample photos, including Wide Mistake Rib on Pg 158. Mistake Rib is such a versatile stitch and gives a lovely warm result. I love both the original version and the wider one which has an even more pronounced textural finish, so we wanted to include an extra sample to show the differences.

We also managed to pick up some extra typos and errata that we missed in the previous version. It's amazing how those slip through, isn't it. You can see the list of updates here.


And here's our request: Have you seen anything else that needs to be updated before we go to print? Please do let us know if anything is not clear or if you think there may be an error in the pattern information. We have loved all your suggestions so far, so please keep them coming in.

And one final piece of news: We will be offering a print + digital package on both of our websites when the print version is released. Printed books are great when you're at home, but it's hard to carry them with you when you're travelling. This way, you'll be able to access the book on the go or at your desk!

We'll have more details about that closer to the time and will be contacting everyone who has already purchased the E-Book through our on-line stores.


Updates coming: If you have purchased the E-Book from my website, Anna's website, Craftsy or Etsy, then please look out for an update e-mail in the next few days. Please bear with us while we work through getting those out to everyone, but let us know if you haven't received an update by the end of March.

If you purchased a Kindle Fire version on Amazon, then please go to Manage Your Kindle on your device and you'll be able to see the latest version.

On the iBookstore, the next time you open the iBook you will be advised that there is a new version available with links to follow for the new update.

For more details about this innovative stitch book, and the different versions available, please www.wyndlestrawdesigns.com (US) or www.annaravenscroft.com (UK).

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira


Last Blogpost: First Day of Spring





. 24/3/17


21 Mar 2017

First Day of Spring!


I remember laughing as a child listening to the UK comedian Spike Milligan reciting a short poem about Spring:

Spring has sprung
The grass has ris
I wonder where the birdies is?

They say the bird is on the wing
But that's absurd - 
The wing is on the bird!

I'm sure he didn't write it, but I was thinking about that the other day when an absolute flock of American Robins came into our back garden and filled the trees with song. They flew industriously backwards and forwards to three large palm trees that were laden with ripe palm nuts. Two were in our neighbour's garden and one high up in the woodlands behind us.

They would fly rapidly towards the low flower heads dripping with their tasty morsels, then grab a palm nut and zoom back to the original perch, singing at the tops of their voices all the time. How they did that with their beaks full of palm nuts beats me! 

This continued for about an hour until a hawk appeared nearby and they all left in one dense cloud, with just one or two gentle peep-peep sounds as they continued on their migration north.



And that's about as close as we get to seeing Spring here in Florida. I'm afraid it's not the right climate for daffodils, and even cherry trees have a hard time here. However, we did manage to see some beautiful azaleas at Bok Gardens near Orlando the other day.

I hope you are lucky enough to have daffodils in your back garden today to welcome the First day of Spring. If you haven't, then here's a couple of photos to bring a touch of Spring to you!

Happy Spring knitting!

Moira




Many thanks again to DH Tim for his great photos. If you'd like to see more of his work, then please visit his Flick page.


Last blogpost: Is it a bird or is it a plane?






. 25/3/17

20 Mar 2017

Is it a bird or is it a plane?


I'm back! Sorry that I have been away from my blog for so long. I needed a small operation which kept me away from my computer for a while and completely zapped me of energy. However it all went very well, I am very pleased to report.

Fortunately, it didn't stop me knitting for long and I have been having fun finishing up some projects that just needed a bit more love and attention. The first of these was a scarf made from the Hamilton Table Runner pattern.



Yes, I hear you - a pattern for a table runner? But when you think about it, there's not much difference between them, is there. They are both long rectangular objects and the size might only need a little bit of adjusting to get it to work well for a scarf instead. 

The real difference comes from the yarn being used. For a table runner you want the yarn to be fairly firm and crisp to hold its shape well and provide some insulation to the table. A matte finish is also preferable so the runner is quietly present without dominating the look of the room. So the ideal yarn would probably be a cotton or a cotton/linen mix such as the KnitPicks CotLin yarn I used for the original pattern.


Knit Picks yarns. L: Cotlin in Pomegranate, R: Galileo in Quartz.
But a scarf? Well almost the opposite! This needs to be soft and draping so it can flow easily around your neck without chafing. When I was purchasing the yarn for the original Hamilton Table Runner, I was also drawn to another KnitPicks yarn, Galileo, in a deep red colour called Quartz. This is a beautifully soft yarn with a lovely combination of merino wool and bamboo. 

I don't like using silk itself because I always feel so sorry for the silkworms but this yarn just feels, well, silky! It's buttery soft with a beautiful depth of colour - perfect for an evening shawl. (And no, I don't get any commission from KnitPicks - I just like their yarns!)

I started this about a year ago before consigning it to the knitting basket waiting to be finished. Well, I decided that it had sat and languished for long enough, so I picked it up again and happily knitted away until it was done.



In fact, I was actually enjoying the pattern so much that I only stopped when I ran out of yarn. Fortunately the finished scarf is not too long! Thank heavens I didn't buy extra yarn or I might have regretted it. 

Have you ever done that? Been so enjoying knitting a pattern that you continued on too long? I found I wanted to "just knit one more diamond shape" and was quite disappointed when the yarn supply failed on me. This is the Elongated Diamond Pattern from our new E-Book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and is a lovely double-sided stitch. 

Well, now I can see I will need to knit another scarf. Hmmm, I could see this in a beautiful silver-grey colour....

If you'd like to see more details about the Hamilton Table Runner pattern, then please visit my website

Until next time,

Happy Knitting!










. 21/3/17

5 Jan 2017

Love these colours


I love seeing hanks of yarn ready washed and waiting to be swatched! This is Knit Picks Cotlin yarn, which is a great blend of (you guessed it!) cotton and linen. 


I used this yarn in the Hamilton Table Runner pattern last year and loved the way it came out. The yarn really showed the stitch definition beautifully. 

For the table runner I used a deep red colour, Pomegranate.


However, this time I have chosen a pretty set of fresh Spring colours to try.

They are (L to R): Swan, Linen, Conch, Sagebrush, Hydrangea and Surf.

I'll post some more photos once I have wound them up and made a start! And if you'd like to know why I always pre-wash my yarns, then have a look at this blogpost from the BYOB Market Bag Knit-along.

Happy Knitting!

Moira










. 20/3/17

24 Dec 2016

Winter Light


There's something magical about the light at this time of the year. Perhaps it's the angle at which it falls, or the fact that you can already detect that the evenings are starting to get a little longer.


Today, there's been a wonderful mix of sun and cloud. Bright blue skies one minute, scudding clouds the next.


Then as the sun began to set, the yellows and reds bathed everything in a warm amber glow, picking out the edges of the leaves along the shoreline.


The clouds returned in time for a wonderful sunset with reds, yellows and oranges reflected in the waters of Little Sarasota Bay.


We walked back through Spanish Point and took the side path to Mary's Chapel which was beautifully decorated both inside and out.


I sat and knitted on a bench in front of the chapel while Tim took photos, the lights twinkling brighter as the sunset faded behind me.

The end of a beautiful walk in this magical part of the world.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas!

Moira


Many thanks once again to my husband Tim for his wonderful photos. See more of his work on his Flickr site. Photos taken in and around Historic Spanish Point, Sarasota.





. 24/12/16

19 Dec 2016

What's on the other side?


Yesterday, I blogged about three patterns, all quick to knit and all using the same chunky yarn, DMC Natura XL. However, there was something else that was the same about all of them: all the stitches were drawn from our new Reversible Knitting Stitches E-Book. So I thought I would talk about these three stitch patterns and why we chose them for these projects.

The first pattern I showed yesterday was the Malvern Spa Pillow and Mitt. These are worked in a variation of Hatfield Check, one of my favourite reversible knit stitches. The stitch is an easy one to work and gives a wonderfully textural result. It has a good amount of stretch, which is important for something like a tightly-fitting spa pillow cover. It also has a most interesting surface texture which produces a very good massaging effect in the spa mitt, so is a good combination for the set.


The second pattern featured in the blogpost was the Malvern Bath Mat, a soft and luxurious bath mat which just soaks up the water when you step onto it after a relaxing bath or shower. The softness comes partly from the yarn, of course, but is also due to the qualities of the stitch, Quaker Ridging. This alternates thick and thin ridged stripes giving a lovely depth to the fabric, so it is soft and squidgy to step onto.

It can look great when worked in a striped pattern, as in the bath mat here, but I like it also in a single colour which seems to emphasise the dynamic nature of the pattern. 


The last of the three featured patterns was Anna's Shelbourne Spa Towels. These are worked in an intriguing reversible stitch called Diamond Brocade, which has an interesting interplay of different-sized diamonds. This gives the design a very modern feel. 

I like the fact that the two sides look so different. The right side has strongly accented diamond shapes and the wrong side has a lovely honey-comb appearance. Apart from just appearances, though, this deep texture makes the towels absorbent and soft to use.


If you would like to read more about the Reversible Knitting Stitches E-Book, then please go to my website. The book features 200 different reversible stitch patterns and also includes over 50 project photos to show how the stitches can be used for your next project.

The E-Book is available in a number of different formats, so you can download this for iBooks, Kindle or as a pdf version for viewing on your computer.

Good luck with your last-minute Christmas knitting!

Moira


Next Up: Winter Light






. 24/12/16

18 Dec 2016

Mission Impossible Knitting


You wake and see the calendar on the wall - how can it be only 1 week before Christmas? You sit at your favourite table and gaze blankly into space. You have been knitting like crazy for ages and there's a lovely scarf for your Dad and even Uncle Bertie has a hat with a rather interesting pom-pom on the top. But, there's still Aunt Winnie and your Mum... And now there's only 1 week to go.

You rest your head in your hands then idly pick up a knitting needle. But there's something odd about it - it's larger than you usually use. And now your fingerprint has activated it, sending a beam of light towards the wall. You watch as flashing images show first the calendar you spotted earlier, then a series of photos of knitted items being finished in a flash and wrapped just in time. Then you hear the Secretary's voice:

"Agent Knitter - your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete all your knitting projects in only 1 week! This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds."

The knitting needle smoulders and vanishes and you realise the answer. 
You have the ultimate secret weapon - chunky yarn.


You dive into your stash and find some fabulous chunky cotton yarn you purchased a year ago and you're off. Shortly afterwards, you watch astonished as first one item then another is completed.

Your other half gingerly steps into the knitting room with a cup of tea and a reinforcing mince pie on a plate and stands in awe at the growing pile of items waiting to be blocked and finished. 


Then as the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve, you tie the ribbon around the wrapped presents and retire to bed. You were successful! You are, indeed, a member of the Impossible Knitting Force, the IKF.

And yes, I have just been watching the whole series of Mission Impossible, how can you tell!

The patterns shown in the photographs are:


Top: A new pattern, the Malvern Spa Pillow and Mitt. These are quick to make and easy to finish. They would make a great present by themselves or packaged together with some herbal soaps or bath essences.


Middle: Another new pattern, the Malvern Bath Mat. This comes in 3 sizes for a shower/wash basin, bath tub or larger dressing room size. The small size only uses 2 balls of each colour and works up very quickly.


Lower Photo: These are wonderfully soft and absorbent towels, the Shelbourne Spa Towels by Anna Ravenscroft. These also use only 2 balls of yarn each, so are quick to make and have a lovely texture on each side.

And a second secret weapon you can use here - these are all from the same yarn! This is DMC Natura XL "Just Cotton", an absolutely fabulous yarn that is soft, easy to knit with and available in a wonderful range of colours (30 at the time of writing!) Of course, any chunky cotton yarn would work for this mission, but if you can get the Natura XL you won't be disappointed.

So go for it, Agent Knitter! You can still do it!

Happy Knitting!

Moira






[and by the way, all 3 of these knitting patterns use stitches taken from this E-Book!]




. 18/12/16 

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