Black Friday Comes Early!

This week end I released another pattern!  This one was the Criss Cross Cabled Headband which matches the previously released Cowl.  It has eye catching cables within cables that are actually much simpler to knit than you would think!

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And as it’s that time of the year, I thought I would offer a coupon code to celebrate.  For 15% off in my Etsy Shop simply use the code BLACKFRIDAY when checking out.

If you prefer Ravelry then I have a code AUTUMN2015 which will give you the same discount.

But hurry, both offers finish at the end of the month!

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Cables and Houses

This week has been another very busy one for me.  I have been writing more knitting patterns and getting them up for testing.  I have also managed to publish one for sale.

Criss Cross Cabled Cowl

Criss Cross Cabled Cowl

It is a short cowl, knitted flat and seamed at the end.  The eye-catching cable within a cable detail at the front is actually much easier to do than it looks.  It takes less than 100g of aran weight yarn and is a pretty quick knit.  If you are looking for something to knit up for a Christmas gift the pattern is available from Ravelry, Love Knitting, Etsy and Craftsy.  And before too long I will be releasing patterns for the matching headband and boot toppers!  Check out my Ravelry Group for current coupon codes.

Today I have also signed up to take part in a Black Friday event on Etsy as part of the Craft Britannia Team.  I will be offering 15% off everything in my shop from 27-30th November with the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY.  There will be many other shops taking part too with the same code.  Check out further details on my Facebook page.

This week has also been a busy one for another exciting reason.  A very good friend of mine came to visit and we spent the week looking at houses.  She is hoping to move into the area.  And of course I am also hoping that she does.  I showed her around the area a little and also introduced her at the knitting group I go to – Guisborough Knitwits. I just have to hope she comes back!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for updates on new patterns, discounts and calls for test knitters.  I also post random pictures of the dog and things I am currently knitting.

Yumi and me taking a selfie!

Yumi and me taking a selfie!

Have a good weekend!

Hello

Today I heard Adele’s new song, called Hello. She has been away for a while and so have I. Which is why I thought it would be appropriate to name my first post in months the same as her first song.

The reason I have been AWOL is that I suffered a loss. And to me it was such a huge loss it just knocked me sideways. My beloved boxer dog, Bessie, suddenly began to show signs of being unwell. I took her to the vet and she was in kidney failure. I was devastated. Within the next week or so she deteriorated rapidly, despite spending a lot of time in doggy hospital. At the beginning of June, aged just two years and two months Bessie passed away. She had Juvenile Kidney Disease which has been badly affecting the boxer community but until it touched our lives I was completely unaware of it.

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Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that apart from knitting, my favourite thing to post photos of was my morning walks with Bessie in the fields. As it was coming up to the summer holidays I decided I would take some time out and come back to my knitting in the autumn, hopefully recovered and refreshed.

After a few weeks I realised, not only did I miss MY dog, but I also missed having A dog. The walks and the companionship. The need to leave the house everyday for a spot of exercise and fresh air regardless of the weather or how I was feeling. We decided to give puppy walking a go for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Last month Yuma arrived. A little ball of energy that my son very aptly described as ‘Adorable but annoying’! I guess we had forgotten how different having a puppy is to having an adult dog! We are getting into a bit more of a routine now though.

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It has meant, however, that I have had less time for my knitting pattern writing than I am used to. Sometimes this can get a little frustrating! I have ideas whirling around my head and I just don’t have the time to work through them quickly enough. I have been working on a couple of new accessory sets, consisting of headband, short cowl and boot toppers.

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The sets are both up for testing in my Ravelry group – Designs By Emma.  I am always looking out for new test knitters, so if you are interested please sign up to any of the open tests or in the Testers thread for future patterns.   I am really excited to get something new released. Watch this space! I do promise not to be gone for quite so long next time!

How Thick?

When looking on a yarn or ball band you will notice a number.  This tells you how thick the yarn is and what kind of needles you might need and even the type of project you might use it to make.  This is because the weight, or thickness, will affect the appearance of what you make.  It will also make a difference to the amount of stitches and rows you will need to knit a sample swatch of 4cm square.

0 Lace – also called 2-ply or fingering weight.  This yarn is most commonly used with 2mm or 2.5mm needles.  It will produce a very delicate fabric.

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1 Superfine – also called 3-ply or baby.  Mostly used with 2.75mm, 3mm or 3.25mm needles.  It produces a very fine material and is great for detailed shawls or socks.

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2 Fine – also called 4-ply, sport or baby.  Mostly used with 3.5mm, 3.75mm or 4mm needles.  Great for making baby clothes, sock and very lightweight jumpers.  It produces very delicate textures and detailed colour work.

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3 Light – also called DK (Double Knit) or worsted.  Mostly used with 4mm or 4.5mm needles.  This is a great all-purpose yarn used for anything from baby clothes to jumpers and scarves.

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4 Medium – also called aran or medium worsted.  Mostly used with 5mm or 5.5mm needles.  This is great for slightly thicker jumpers, scarves, baby blankets and is very popular for making cabled jumpers.  It is slightly quicker to knit up than a DK yarn.

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5 Bulky – also called chunky.  Mostly used with 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm or 8mm needles.  Perfect for knitting winter gifts such as hats, leg warmers, thick scarves and shawls.  Very quick to knit with due to its thickness and the size of needles.

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6 Super Bulky – also called super chunky or roving.  Mostly used with 9mm or 10mm needles.  This is the thickest type of yarn you are likely to come across in most shops.  It is really thick and warm so perfect for those winter knits of scarves and blankets.  Perfect for beginners!

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You can also find yarns on-line that are so thick you can use your arms to knit with them!

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My favourite thickness of yarn to knit with is aran weight.  It is slightly quicker to knit up than DK but it isn’t too thick and chunky for accessories.  You can find some of my patterns to use aran weight in my Ravelry or Etsy stores.

Ball Bands!

All yarn come with a band on them giving you invaluable information.  But do you know what it all means?

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Yarn weight and thickness – all yarn is categorised by how thick it is.  They vary from 0 to 6 and are shown on the band by an image of a ball of yarn with a number on it.  I will go into more detail about this scale in a later blog.

Yarnweight

Recommended needle size – this is by no means set in stone.  You do not have to use the needle size stated on the ball band.  This is just a guide to help you get the correct tension.

Tension – the tension is usually given as a square.  It will state how many stitches and how many rows will create a 4inch or 10cm square.  It is usually better to knit a swatch much bigger than this and to measure the tension in the middle.  I have written an earlier blog about tension squares.

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Washing instructions – these will tell you if you have to hand wash garments made from this yarn or if they can be machine washed.  If they can go in the machine it will give you a guide temperature.

handwash wash temp

Drying instructions – some yarns will tell you if they can be tumble dried.  The symbol with a cross through it means it cannot go in the dryer.  The other symbols will tell you which setting.  One dot for low, two for medium and three for high.

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Ironing instructions – you may be able to iron items made from some yarns.  A picture of an iron with a cross through it means you can’t, one dot means iron on low, two for medium and three for high.  Sometimes you will see a picture of an iron with steam at the bottom which may or may not be crossed out.  This will tell you whether or not to use steam when ironing finished items.

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Corn Rows

This week has been very busy!  I have been trying to get ready to go away on holiday.  So I have a pattern with the tech editor and test knitters.  Hopefully there won’t be any problems with it so I can release it next month.

I have written 3 blog posts and scheduled them to be published over the next two weeks.  And I am just about to send a newsletter out.

But what I am most excited about is the release of my new pattern this week.  It is Corn Rows Cabled Boot Toppers and it matches the Corn Rows Cabled Headband that I released at the end of last year.

Corn Rows Boot toppers

Corn Rows Cable Headband

Corn Rows Cable Headband

I hope you like it!

How do you like yours?

Recently a friend started to learn how to knit and was more than a little confused by the vast array of yarns and needles available.  It reminded me of how I felt when I was a beginner.  Which yarn went with which sized needles?  Does it make any difference if I use a bigger/smaller needle than the one recommended on the yarn band?  Why are they made in all kinds of different materials?

So I started to search through my books and realised I have some pretty good info just sitting on my living room bookshelf.  Pages and pages about types of yarn, variations of needle size and type.  Measuring tension, notions and embellishments.

Lets start with needles.  Everyone who has been a knitter or crocheter for a while has a favourite type of needles or hooks.  I would recommend all beginners to try out as many different kinds as they can.  The material they are made from can make a dramatic difference to the fabric that you produce.

Metal, plastic, bamboo or ebony/rosewood are all common materials used in the manufacture of knitting needles and crochet hooks.

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metalcrochet

Metal needles – these are usually very slippy and not recommended for beginners.  It is easy to lose a stitch when working on metal.  They are great for fibres like mohair and wool that tends to stick.  They are also great if you tend to knit too tightly.  You will find you naturally loosen your tension when working with metal.

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Bamboo needles – these are very lightweight and flexible.  If you have a lot of stitches or a heavy fabric you may find your needles bending.  They are great for more slippery yarns such as silk, cotton and bamboo.  They are often recommended for beginners as they will slow the flow of your knitting down.  Also recommended if you suffer with arthritis in your hands.

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Plastic needles – these have a surface which falls somewhere between metal and bamboo.  They keep a steady temperature as you use them and are not too slippery or sticky so are great with most types of yarn.  Great for beginners and arthritis suffers.  But beware needles smaller than 4mm have a tendency to snap!

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Ebony/rosewood needles – these feel luxurious in your hands but are usually the most expensive on the market.  They have a smooth surface, almost waxy and will become smoother with use.  They keep a nice temperature too.  They will help you keep an even tension and don’t bend like bamboo.

I started off using bamboo.  As a beginner I liked the way the stitches flowed off the needles at a nice steady pace.  I had used metal when I was much younger and my nan was teaching me.  I had a tendency to lose a lot of stitches as when I slipped one off the needle, the stitch behind would follow, often without me noticing for a while!

A couple of years ago my husband bought me a set of KnitPro symphonie needles.  I have never looked at another needle since.  They are quite costly, but I think they are well worth the money. I have since received gifts of their double pointed and interchangeable needles.  I even have a few of their crochet hooks too!

Knitpro crochet knitprointerchangeable

Which kind of needles and hooks do you prefer?