News for the ‘designs’ Category

Knitter’s Notebook…

We like paper and pencils and notebooks and such stuff, you may have noticed. Belinda in particular has quite a collection of notebooks, although there’s nothing like adding to that. So we did.


Our notebook has a nice, sturdy brown card cover with shiny red foil knitting needles on it. Inside it has lovely 100gms pages (that’s a bit heavier than in a lot of notebooks) – the left hand page of each spread is plain and the right hand page of each spread is printed with a 4:3 ratio grid, making it ideal for charting out colourwork designs or cable / lace charts. Some of the pages at the back of the book are perforated (like Moleskines) so that you can rip them out easily should you need to.

As you can see, on the inside front cover there’s also a crib sheet of increases, decreases and the odd classic cable symbol.


The paper is nice and white so that if you’re using coloured pencils when doodling for a chart the colours show true (even cream paper can make your colours look a bit odd sometimes).

There’s a 0 – 20cm ruler printed on the inside back cover, too. Which might give you a clue as to the size – A5 – not too big to bulk out your project bag, not too small to make doodles too small to see later.


Obviously, you don’t need to be knitting or designing to use one, they make perfect sketchbooks. You can pop over here if you’d like to buy one. Or two, or even just find out a few more details. And why wouldn’t you?

Posted: April 1st, 2014
Categories: accessories, designs, ephemera, knitting, sketchbooks
Comments: 2 Comments.

Sketches on a Wednesday…

As promised on Monday, here are a few very rough pencil sketches of ideas for chunky styles.

These are both taken from one of my sketchbooks where I jot down very quick ideas -these are shape ideas more than anything and are only about 8cm high in real life and take seconds to do. I keep my black sketchbooks going on a permanent basis, both to give me ideas and record information and thoughts… I love doing them but more than anything they are really useful when I come to design.

Chunky sketches

These are a bit more detailed but still very quick, a few minutes rather than seconds, this is a whole A4 sketchbook page.

Chunky sketches2.jpeg

We don’t use all these designs but may develop one or two out of 50 or so, then I will sketch in more detail and add colour. It’s all about the edit.

Posted: March 26th, 2014
Categories: designs, general wittering, knitting, sketchbooks, sketchbooks, yarn
Comments: 2 Comments.

The Highland Bling…

It’s taken a while to get this one written up and ready, but finally we’re here. The Highland Bling:


Cable-y. Sparkly. Glam, but wearable for everyday. We know this because Belinda has one and has worn it lots – if you came to Unravel you would have seen her in it.

Another punny name. But then it is a bit blingy. We get the sequins from Josy Rose – they have 66 or 67 colours to choose from depending on whether you want ‘cup’ sequins or flat sequins. We’ve used the cup sequins, but this does mean you have to be a bit more careful when you’re threading them onto the yarn.


So, details, details. The main yarn used (once again) is John Arbon’s Knit By Numbers. The sequins are threaded onto a similarly coloured Kidsilk Haze as the yarn you’ve chosen for your yoke, then the two yarns are held together. This just means that it’s a lot easier to thread the sequins on. The sequins are knitted into the stitches so that they lie flat, fish-scale-esq as opposed to sticking out (which they do if you just put the sequin in front of a slipped stitch as you can with beads). This is far easier to do than to explain, trust us on this. But if we get another nice day or so in the not-too-distant-future with good light we might make a video showing you how. The merino and the KSH make for a very warm jumper, so you don’t want this too fitted. Plus it just looks better worn slightly bigger – you’re aiming for slightly-slouchy, relaxed ‘oh I just threw this old thing on’ glamour here, not ‘it fits like a second skin’. We might have mentioned this before but many, many jumpers and cardigans are a lot more flattering if they skim your body or are slightly oversized rather than having the oh-so-fashionable-at-the-moment ‘negative ease’.

As ever, we have our favourite blackberry / bramble / trinity stitch, a very easy cable repeat and a little twisted 1-over-1 cable. No ‘complicated’ stitches at all. The crosses are a crocheted chain that you sew in afterwards. They just provide a nice bit of a break between the cables and the sequins. You don’t have to worry about where to put them as there a purl stitch bumps knitted into that section to show you where to sew. Here’s Belinda’s Bling:


A darker, stormier affair. Dark grey body, black yoke with black KSH and deep, very shiny, inky-navy-blue sequins. Looks fab with jeans. Looks fab dressed up over a black skirt or with black trousers and shiny patent brogues. Frankly, just looks fab.


All details and the pattern here on Ravelry. Soon to be available on TBk, but Belinda needs to stop writing a couple of exciting patterns and code the pages for it before that can happen…

Posted: March 25th, 2014
Categories: designs, general wittering, knitting, sequins, yarn
Comments: 6 Comments.

Friday Favourite 6…

This piece is from the Autumn/Winter ’14 Mui Mui Collection so it’s one of the sweaters from next season’s offerings. We Love the interesting mix of colour, proportion and used of differing size of tension and scale. (We are not even pink people!) The clever and subtle detailing on the cuff and hem rib give the piece a really good balance.



Its great the way the change in scale of knitting and tension does something really interesting to the shape of the garment, so even plain stocking stitch can produce stunning results. So simple and so fab.

Posted: March 14th, 2014
Categories: designs, Friday Favourite
Comments: 3 Comments.


Yes, yes – yesterday we were talking about desperately needing Spring to, well, spring, and today we’re on about Midwinter.

But this Midwinter is special. Last year we sent a few designs off to Quince & Co’s call for their latest scarf book, all of them inspired by Midwinter Pottery and this is the one they chose:


and this is how it looked when we’d got it all knitted up in the delightful Quince & Co Osprey:


Isn’t it beautiful? Isn’t the photography gorgeous? We love Quince & Co! They have been a delight to work with. Some more pics for you:



As you can see from those last two pics, it’s a long scarf, perfect for wrapping (although you could knit it shorter). And it has quite large pompoms as finishing touches (but that’s not really a surprise, is it?). It might look like a complicated colourwork pattern but in fact it’s worked in 2-row stripes with slip stitches, so it’s easy peasy to knit. The yarn is a dream – a dream – to knit with and comes in 49 fabulous colours. The sample was knitted up in the monotone colourway using Egret, Kumlien’s Gull and Crow but how nice would it be to add in a bright pop of colour (like Wendy’s drawing)? – you could substitute Sorbet or Nasturtium or Belize in for the Kumlien’s Gull for a few centimetres at each end.

Full details (including how to buy) here and here on Ravelry, although I think you might have to wait until America is up and working before you can actually buy. I’ll add in links to the Quince & Co website as soon as they’re up*. There are 13 other designs in the ebook from great designers, but we think ours is best! (Well, it is the only one with pompoms, so it’s a no-brainer really, isn’t it?)

OK, so here are the links to buy from Quince & Co. Here for the lookbook for the whole collection (you can see Wendy and me trying very hard to look sensible / not gormless in our designer bio there), here for the ebook of the whole collection or here to just buy our Midwinter pattern.

Posted: March 6th, 2014
Categories: accessories, designs, general wittering, knitting, quince&co
Comments: No Comments.

Something spotty…

As many of you know we have been playing with needle felting techniques and this is something we designed a couple of weeks ago. It has a fresh spring-like quality to it (something we all need desperately, we think) and looks great on a cute plain stocking stitch sweater. The red spots are worked with a woollen fabric cut into circles which we’ve needle felted, then gently removed the fabric from the knitting leaving only secured fibres behind – it gives this fab, sort of ghost-like speckled effect. The yellow and blue ones spots are done our usual way with spirals of yarn worked on the wrong side and punched through to create these soft spots.

spot swatch

Looks cute…

Multi spot

Posted: March 5th, 2014
Categories: designs, general wittering, knitting
Comments: No Comments.

Friday Favourite 2…

Well, we are champing at the bit to show you some of our favourite sweaters. This one is a machine knit we think (Belinda is sure it is). We love the look of it – such a great shape, in a multi-coloured tuck stitch. It’s by Toast and its called the Tess Sweater and a cotton polyamide yarn. We want one!

Toast sweater

Funny, we knitted this swatch about 18 months ago in Yeoman DK cotton and designed this sweater which we have yet to convert into a pattern. It’s not as heavy as the Toast one, but we like it.

Tuck stitch swatch .jpeg
Tuck stitch sweater

We also have a textured wool and mohair sweater, same stitch pattern but very different look – the Garterhouse:


Posted: February 14th, 2014
Categories: designs, Friday Favourite, knitting
Comments: 3 Comments.

Unravel giveaway…

Justa very quick post to remind everyone again that Unravel starts next Friday and we’ll be there! We are contributing a raffle prize for the Friday night of a Canterberet pattern and the John Arbon Knit by Numbers yarn to knit it in. We have looked through all of our spare yarn and the kit will be in the same colourway as the photo below:


We also have a ticket to give away, valid for both the Saturday and Sunday. So if you’d like to come along for free, leave a comment on this post and tomorrow, Friday, we’ll pick a winner at 5pm (GMT) sharp. Then we’ll email you for an address and post your ticket off. We might even have another bit of a treat for you if you come to our stand and make yourself known to us. (We’re upstairs in the Granary, the first people you’ll see as you walk into that room.)

Just in case you need a reminder, here’s what it’s all about:


Posted: February 13th, 2014
Categories: accessories, designs, general wittering, knitting, yarn
Comments: 3 Comments.

Love is in the air…

… well, it might be if you’re lucky. Depending on your mood, it’s either a cynical marketing ploy to sell flowers and restaurant tables and lots of cards, a truly romantic day or the most miserable day ever as you sit waiting for the Valentine that never comes. I am guessing that at some point in most lives it has been all of these things. Yes, it’s St. Valentine’s Day in other words. It seems we may have Chaucer to blame for giving marketing people ideas.

Anyway, in case you missed them last year, here is our answer to your problems. Knit a Valentine.

red rose heart cropped


Cables, knitted flowers, a use for all those odd mother-of-pearl buttons you’ve been hoarding, or, if you are feeling a little bit spiky:

heart pin cushion 002

A pin cushion. (not that you have to use it as a pin cushion, but it does work rather well if you’re a bit peeved.)

Find more details for the Hearts of Midlothian here. And enjoy this nicely bleak, not-at-all-romantic bit of Mr. Bowie:

Posted: February 5th, 2014
Categories: accessories, designs, general wittering
Comments: No Comments.

Mohair designs

As promised, here are a few garment designs for the degrade mohair swatch we showed yesterday on this week’s Monday Mood.

Using extra ends while knitting subtly mixes colours and also creates more width across the knitting on very simple shapes so by adding and taking away ends the shape can be ‘A’ line or egg shape, depending on what you fancy and gives soft, interesting changes in colour without too much effort on the knitter’s part.

Brushing certain areas more than others once knitted can also create interesting shapes and blurred effects.

We have added oversized puff sleeves to the last cropped sweater which gives a classic shape a new twist.
The first sweater is a soft flared shape with elongated wide sleeves which also updates a classic.

Mohair designs

… here is a reminder of the swatch:

Mohair Swatch

nice… (even if we do say so ourselves).

Posted: February 4th, 2014
Categories: designs, fluff fest, general wittering, knitting, moods
Comments: No Comments.