23 Dec 2017

December Sale - A dozen rainbows!



For the last few days, we've been counting down through the 12 chapters of our Reversible Knitting Stitches book and we've arrived at Chapter 1! This chapter is called Allover Stitches and includes some lovely knitting patterns including the stitch we're featuring today, Quilted Cross Stitch. 

As you can see from the photo above, the stitch inspired Anna to make a whole rainbow of coasters! 


Quilted Cross Stitch may not be one of the easiest knitting patterns you'll ever try, but it certainly is one of the more dramatic. Layers of stitches all moving in different directions seem to be piled one on top of another to give a stunning effect. The surface almost looks as though it has been embroidered over a backing fabric. 

The other side of the work is completely different, with an interesting broken rib texture that sits nicely flat. The fabric is firm and textural with a lovely contemporary feel. The stitch would be a lovely choice for a centrepiece or plant pot stand or, as here, a set of coasters!


The Rainbow Coasters are wonderfully vibrant and are sure to jazz up any surface. Two different yarns have been paired to produce the set: Sublime Egyptian Cotton DK (a 100% cotton yarn) and Schachenmayr Select Violena, which is a 50:50 mix of cotton and modal.

The colours range from a rich red to a deep violet and from a bright and eye-catching yellow to a lime green and turquoise. Knit just a few for a co-ordinated colour theme or make one of each colour for a complete rainbow! 

The material has a dense texture, which gives a good degree of insulation to any tabletop. The coasters are also finished with a gentle starching to improve stain protection and longevity.


To read more about the Rainbow Coasters knitting pattern, please click here. Add the code: DEC_SALE at checkout for a 12% discount on all the featured patterns in this series until Twelfth Night, 5th Jan 2018! Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series.

For more details about the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here
The book is available as an E-Book, a Print version, or a Print and Digital Package. 

There are 3 ways to buy your copy:
1 - Anna's KikuKnits store (pricing in UK £, payment in your local currency)
2 - My Etsy shop (pricing in US $, payment in your local currency)
3 - E-mail me or use the contact form here to purchase via Paypal

​​If you have already purchased the E-Book and would like to add the Print copy as a Package Upgrade, ​then please contact me with details of your original order.

I hope you've enjoyed this series of blogposts and that you'll find lots of inspiration for your own design work in the pages of the book.

Wishing you a very Happy Holiday season and all the best for the New Year!

Moira and Anna 




Our Book: Reversible Knitting Stitches

My Website: www.wyndlestrawdesigns.com
Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com








. 23/12/17

22 Dec 2017

December Sale - The Cold Gap


Hooded scarves are back in fashion! They have been heavily featured in many fashion shows recently and are now making their appearance on the streets from places as far apart as New York and Tbilisi.

And with good reason - they're one of the best ways of closing that gap at the top of your collar. You know the one. Where that last snowflake just fell onto your bare neck. Or where the draught that's whistling across the common found a way to sneak in - brrrr. 

A hooded scarf neatly fills that gap, adding warmth just at the point where it is needed.


Then when the going gets really tough and the icy rain is driving through the bus shelter, you can bring the hood up and hold it neatly in place with the attached scarf. You'll be the warmest person getting onto the bus that day!

This is the 11th in a 12-part series looking at stitches from our Reversible Knitting Stitches book and items that can be made from them. Today I have chosen Irish Moss Stitch from Chapter 2 of the book and one of my favourite patterns of Anna's, the Vera Hooded Scarf.


Irish Moss Stitch is another old knitting stitch and has many names, including Double Moss Stitch and Box Stitch, because the pattern has a neatly ordered arrangement of doubled knits and purls. The stitch is truly reversible and lays beautifully flat.

It is a fairly easy stitch to work and has a very similar gauge to Stocking Stitch so can be used as a feature panel in a plain garment. The fabric has an interesting texture and would be a lovely choice for lap rugs and baby blankets. 


The soft, chunky yarn used in the Vera Hooded Scarf really shows this stitch beautifully. The scarf is quick to make, so you can easily run up a few of these in different colours to match your outfit for the day. The ends of the scarf are gently shaped so they hold neatly in place when the scarf is wrapped around your shoulders. 

The nice thing about a hooded scarf is that you don't have separate items to deal with, such as a hat and a scarf. So much easier to have them attached, and the Vera hooded Scarf has a generously sized hood which is easy to lift into place. Then when you reach a warmer location, you can slip the hood neatly back into place. 

However, even when the hood is down the scarf continues to hug your shoulders, holding in the warmth and helping to maintain your core temperature.


To read more about the Vera Hooded Scarf, please click here. Add the code:

DEC_SALE

at checkout for a 12% discount on all the featured patterns in this series until Twelfth Night, 5th Jan 2018! Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series.

For more details about the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print version, or as a Print and Digital Package.

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira



Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com




. 22/12/17

21 Dec 2017

December Sale - It's a Wrap


Ladies' fashion changed dramatically in the early 20th Century, from previously prim and proper attire to free-spirited and daring. By the 1920's, necklines had became more open and hemlines raised. Elaborately decorated dresses showed bared shoulders and long slender arms.

However, on leaving the dance hall or theatre, the 1920's lady would protect herself from the chills of a summer evening by wrapping herself in a stole. On a balmy night, a silky fringed stole would be draped becomingly over her arms. However, on a cooler evening, a warm wrap would be placed around her shoulders and fastened with an elaborate pin.

Those were elegant days for the fashionable set and even today designers will revisit the pages of 1920's fashion magazines for inspiration for their next collection. The wraps that became popular at that time are a case in point.


This is the 9th in a series of twelve blogposts, each one featuring a stitch from our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and showing a pattern which uses that stitch. We have been gradually counting down through the book and today we have reached Chapter 3: Large Blocks and Squares. Today I will be looking at a lovely modern pattern from this chapter, Square Lattice, and a warm wrap, the Scottswood Stole.

Square Lattice is a striking reversible stitch, with a lattice pattern that resembles a widely-spaced plain weave fabric. The vertical columns of stitches on the front face really do look as though they weave in and out of the design. The lattice framework encloses textured squares of Seed Stitch, adding extra detail to this side. 


On the reverse side, it is the blocks of Seed Stitch that form the principle pattern giving a modern cubist design. The fabric is thin and flexible with a lovely drape. It could be used for a wide variety of knitted items, such as a summer cardigan, a baby's pram cover or a light-weight shawl.

In the Scottswood Stole, the natural drape of the material is used to great effect. The wrap is knit in a 100% baby alpaca yarn for the ultimate in luxury. Warm, sophisticated and comfortable, the wrap provides the right amount of warmth just when you need it - perfect for a change of scene or a change of season.


For more details about the Scottswood Stole, please click here. Add the code:

DEC_SALE

at checkout for a 12% discount on all the featured patterns in this series until Twelfth Night, 5th Jan 2018! Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series.

For more details about the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print version, or as a Print and Digital Package.

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira




Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com




. 22/12/17

20 Dec 2017

December Sale - Super Stretchy Stitches


Have you ever knitted an item first in one yarn then been disappointed when you reknit it in another? I have a favourite shawl that I made some years ago which is colourful, lightweight and warm. Every time I put it around my shoulders I feel cozy. Some while later I reworked the exact same shawl in an acrylic yarn and it was such a disappointment! The shawl was heavy and clammy. The yarns sounded as though they were comparable in all but yarn content, but the results proved how different they were.

I've said it before, but wool is a remarkable fibre. It is warm, lightweight, absorbs dampness without feeling cold and is immensely stretchable. Some super-crimpy wool fibres such as merino can stretch as much as 25-30% in length and spring back into shape time and time again.

This makes them eminently suitable for jumpers and cardigans which can suffer severe tugging and stretching, especially in the hands of small kiddies as they pull them on and off. So the choice of yarn can make a big difference to how the final article fits and how stretchy it is.


The same is true for knitting stitches. Some stitches, such as Garter Stitch, expand widthways while other contract up, giving extra elasticity to the final fabric. The stitch I featured yesterday was one such example, gently clinging to the shape of the hot water bottle and forming a soft, insulating layer.

In this series of 12 blogposts, I am looking at 12 different stitches, one from each of the chapters in our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and highlighting an article that has been made using the stitch. Today, I'd like to look at a super-stretchy stitch, Single Rib, and a cozy, comfy hat made using it, the Carey Beanie Hat.


Single Rib has a number of different names including 1x1 Rib, K1 P1 Rib and Plain Rib. The stitch is fairly easy to work and results in tightly-packed columns of knit stitches with the purls buried deep inside the structure. Indeed the knit stitches can sit so closely together that the fabric can resemble Stocking Stitch! It is only when you gently pull the material widthwise that you then see the ribbing structure.

Beginners can sometimes find the stitch a little tiresome to work as the yarn has to be taken backwards and forwards before each new stitch, so it can take some time to work. It does speed up once you get into the swing of things though. You also have to maintain a good tension on the yarn or the knit stitches can spread a little.

However, it is a wonderful stretchy stitch, especially if worked in a soft wool mix yarn.


In the Carey Beanie Hat, a chunky yarn has been used to make a warm hat which is just right for a chilly winter. The hat has a deep brim to keep your ears warm and a lovely spiral detail to the top which gives a fashionable touch. The hat can be worn with the brim turned up or with it opened to give a long, ski-wear look.

There are two styles of hats with different colour banding: the first has a striped brim, while the second features a broad colour band on the hat.


For more details about the Carey Beanie Hat, please click here. Add the code:

DEC_SALE

at checkout for a 12% discount on all the featured patterns in this series until Twelfth Night, 5th Jan 2018! Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series.

For more details about the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print version, or as a Print and Digital Package.

I'll be back tomorrow with news of a stole pattern worked in a lovely block design.

Until then,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira



Next Up: It's a Wrap


Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com




. 20/12/17

19 Dec 2017

December Sale - Yes, that was me!


Picture yourself as a Swedish hiker in the mountains of New Hampshire in August of 2015. It is hot and steamy. You are bathing your feet in the refreshing mountain stream and splashing cool water on your face. 

You look up and see a lady sitting on a rock by the side of the river. She has been quietly knitting but is now opening her backpack and removing something from it. You look in wonderment as you see it is a hot water bottle! She tries it inside the knitted item, then she replaces it in her bag and knits a few more rows. 

Yes, dear hikers - that was me! 


Well, you know, it is not only Girl Guides that need to "Be Prepared". It is a well-known fact that every knitter needs at least a year's notice of any intended baby if layettes and baby blankets are going to arrive in time, Christmas gift-giving is a 13-month activity, and if you want a snuggly hot water bottle cover ready in time for the first snows of New England, then you'd better start knitting that in the height of summer!

This is the 8th in a series of 12 blogposts featuring stitches from our new book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and showing some of the items that can be made from them. Today I am featuring the Barley Corn pattern from Chapter 5 of the book and an essential item for winter, the Joules and Joulietta Hot Water Bottle Cover.


Barley Corn is a pretty stitch with a gently waving structure. The stitch almost looks like interlocking ears of barley and has an interesting texture and depth. It looks quite complicated but is actually quite easy to knit. It's always good when it's that way around isn't it! 

It is truly reversible and would be a lovely choice for blankets, afghans and car rugs. The pattern is well-defined so can also be used to add details to items such as a clutch bag or a pocket on a larger item. The final fabric is very warm and flexible and as soon as I worked a sample of this pattern I envisaged knitting a hot water bottle cover.


The Joules and Joulietta Hot Water Bottle Covers are quick to work and have a closely-fitting "body" plus a ribbed polo neck to hug the top. They are easy to put on and off as they have a neat fold-over flap at the back.

There are two different sizes of cover to fit a standard bottle and for a travelling or child's size. I also use my smaller version for a microwaveable hot pad and find it very good to place on aching shoulders after gardening.


If you would like to read more about the Joules and Joulietta pattern, then please click here. This and all the other patterns in this blogpost series will be on sale until 5th Jan 2018 using the code: 

DEC_SALE 

at check-out. Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series. 

To read more about our the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print book or as a Print and Digital package.

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira


Last Blogpost: The Humble Garter Stitch

Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com





. 19/12/17

18 Dec 2017

December Sale - The Humble Garter Stitch


Garter Stitch can teach us a lot about knitting. It is usually the first stitch that most of us try when we are introduced to the art and is worked by knitting into every stitch on both the right side and the wrong side.

It is at this point that we learn one of the first rules of knitting: that whatever stitch you work on one side shows as the opposite on the other. So your carefully worked knit stitches that you just completed on the wrong side now show as a line of bumps on the front. Indeed, you could have made the same fabric by working a second right side row but this time purling across all the stitches!


But there’s a second thing Garter Stitch can teach us: that the side of the stitch with the ‘bump’ showing tries to push outwards. Have you ever seen a length of Stocking Stitch as it is being worked on a knitting machine? If so, you may have noticed that it emerges as a tightly rolled tube of fabric with the purl side on the outside. It can take a fair bit of unrolling and blocking to get the fabric flat enough to seam it together into a sweater!

In the stitch pattern I featured yesterday, you can see the purl bumps of the Horizontal Parallelogram Check standing out strongly from the knit stitches behind.

In Garter Stitch, though, the purl ‘bumps’ on one row are perfectly balanced by the ones on the next. Each row pushes outwards, first to one side then the other. This gives a strong horizontal patterning with deeply-indented spaces between the rows but the overall fabric lies perfectly flat! True, the rows are highly compressed by this, but the finished result is stable, neat and flat.


Garter Stitch can, therefore, be used as a border to stabilise other designs such as lace scarves and shawls. However, it is a well-loved pattern in its own right, and appreciated not just because it is easy to work but also for its strong lines and detailed patterning.

In this series of twelve blogposts, I am focusing on one stitch from each of the chapters in our Reversible Knitting Stitches book, and featuring a knitting pattern that has been inspired by each one. Today it’s the turn of the humble Garter Stitch and one of Anna‘s colourful patterns, the Autumn Scarf.


The Autumn Scarf is a modern design with bold diagonal blocks of colour. The scarf is worked with three different shades: a deep orange, a rich yellow and a strong contrasting grey. However, the yarn is available in a wide range of colours and the scarf would look great with other colour combinations too. 

The result is eye-catching and the scarf can look very different depending on how it is worn. If it is wrapped casually around your neck in a college-style fashion, then the bold colours will show separately over your shoulder. However, a more complex wrapping style would bring the colours into closer proximity, giving a fun result.

The scarf uses a lovely soft chunky yarn so is quick to work and it won't be long until you have a new scarf to keep those wintry winds at bay!


If you would like to read more about the Autumn Scarf pattern, then please click here. This and all the other patterns in this blogpost series will be on sale until 5th Jan 2018 using the code: 

DEC_SALE 

at check-out. Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series. 

To read more about our the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print book or as a Print and Digital package.

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira




Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com




. 19/12/17

17 Dec 2017

December Sale - Mathematics and Knitting


I remember learning about Parallelograms when I suppose I was about 6 or 7. There were two things that I remember very clearly about that class. The first was that they included such interesting shapes, like rectangles that a giant had pushed to one side. The other was learning how to say "Parallelogram"! It's one of those words that just seems to have too many R's and L's in it - a bit like the word game we used to try to say really fast: 
"Red lorry, yellow lorry, red lorry, yellow lorry..."

Today I am featuring Horizontal Parallelogram Check from Chapter 7 of our Reversible Knitting Stitches book and a lovely cowl that Anna designed using this stitch, the Cloud Cowl. This pattern, and all the other patterns that I am featuring in the December Sale series are 12% off until 5th Jan 2018! More details at the end of this blogpost.


I love the symmetry of angled parallelograms. They have a strong horizontal line forming the top and bottom but the sides are at a diagonal. This gives an interesting dynamic with other shapes forming around them. You can place an angled parallelogram inside a rectangle with two triangles to the sides, or place them next to each other so that the spaces between form into other parallelograms.

In Horizontal Parallelogram Check, the shapes are formed from purl stitches standing out from the knit background. The knit stitches form into their own parallelograms which look like they have been stamped into the background, so that the pattern seems in constant motion.

The pattern is most unusual and catches the light in an interesting way. It is truly reversible except that the shapes lean to the right on one side and to the left on the other.


Anna used this stitch pattern in her Cloud Cowl design using a beautifully soft, loosely-spun yarn. The cowl is also worked on larger needles so that the stitch traps the air and makes the cowl super toasty to wear. When you put it on, it feels like you are being enveloped in a warm cloud!

The Horizontal Parallelogram Check pattern looks so different when worked in this yarn. If it had been worked with a tightly-twisted yarn on small needles, the pattern would have shown strong details and intersecting lines. However, in the Cloud Cowl, the pattern swirls into interesting shapes as you wrap it around your neck.


If you would like to read more about the Cloud Cowl pattern, then please click here. This and all the other patterns in this blogpost series will be on sale until 5th Jan 2018 using the code: 

DEC_SALE 

at check-out. Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series. 

To read more about our the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print book or as a Print and Digital package.

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira


Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com




. 17/12/17

16 Dec 2017

December Sale - Lamberhurst Scarf


Zig-zag patterns are some of the most dynamic knit patterns that we knitters have in our repertoire. They reflect designs and shapes that we see all about us every day, such as the folds in the rock strata of a mountain pass or woven twill patterns, yet they retain their modernity and energy.

This is the 5th in a series of 12 blogposts featuring stitches from our new Reversible Knitting Stitches book and showing some of the items that can be made from them. Today I am featuring the Winding Path stitch pattern from Chapter 8 of the book and a man's scarf, the Lamberhurst Scarf.

Winding Path is a very contemporary stitch with sharp zig-zag lines. It is fairly easy to work, with an easily-memorised 4-stitch repeat. This makes it a very good stitch to choose for larger projects such as table runners, blankets and throws as you can pick the projects up when you have a quiet moment and add a few more rows. Before you know it, the item is finished!


It is also a wonderfully graphical stitch, with the sharp angles and zig-zags catching the light in an interesting way. This makes it an excellent choice for a man's scarf. 

In the Lamberhurst Scarf, the pattern captures the power and dynamism of this timeless design. Broad and narrow bands alternate in direction to give an ever-changing pattern of light and shade. The knitting pattern includes two versions: a shorter draping design and a longer scarf for wrapping around the neck. Both are worked in a crisp merino and cashmere yarn and are completely reversible.



If you would like to read more about the Lamberhurst Scarf pattern, then please click here. This and all the other patterns in this blogpost series will be on sale until 5th Jan 2018 using the code: 

DEC_SALE 

at check-out. Please click here to see the first of the blogposts and then follow the links through to read all the posts in the series. 

To read more about our the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here. The book is available as an E-Book, a Print book or as a Print and Digital package.

Until tomorrow,

Happy Reversible Knitting!

Moira




Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com




. 17/12/17

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