The Luck of The Irish… and the Norwegians

Terrain Shawl detail 1

It’s far from St. Patrick’s Day, but there is a bit of an Irish theme running through this blog today (okay, and a bit of Norwegian)!

New Pattern Launch – Terrain Shawl

The lovely Carol Feller from Cork, Ireland had invited me to design a pattern for her upcoming book called “Cosy Knits“.

As you can imagine, I was ecstatic! To be contacted by a designer of whom I have admired for a long time and have knitted one or two of her patterns, taken one of her workshops and have learned techniques from her video tutorials on Bluprint, it was a dream come true!

Before I designed this shawl, I had been playing with knitting textures and forms in little swatches in the hopes that I could apply them to a future design. At the time, I’d gotten stuck and couldn’t work out a way to put some of these textures to better use. When Carol contacted me, my brain suddenly found its groove and set to work! Then… tadaa!

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Terrain Shawl can be found on page 56 in the Cosy Knits Book. It is a modular knitted shawl, whereby the centre section is knitted first, then the left and right flanks are worked by picking up and knitting off the sides. Lastly, the knitted-on corrugated trim is what gives this unusual shawl its femininity, balance and added swish!

The yarn used was Nua Worsted in Drift Glass (light green) and Sea Veggies (dark green). I enjoyed every minute making the shawl with this yarn! It has that rustic appearance and physical hold, without the prickly feel or the mega-fluff! Gorgeous stuff!

Cosy Knits Book Launch – Dublin

Come and meet me, Carol and other contributors to the book on Saturday 12th October 2019, at This Is Knit yarn shop in Powerscourt Townhouse, William Street South, Dublin.

Oslo Strikkefestival – September 2019

It was my 2nd visit to this festival and to Norway, and of course it didn’t disappoint. The festival was a 3-day extravaganza including pre-show parties/talks, the show itself and then after-show events! Totally packed with things to see and do!

The marketplace was bigger this year and much of it was outside. Sadly it was cold and rainy on occasions, but luckily, not too heavy. This did not seem to deter yarn shoppers who were eager to shop. Vendors like: Garn Surr, Nina Petrina, Stephen & Penelope, Rauma and even our British-based yarn company Garthenor appeared to be doing a roaring trade!

This time, I had the opportunity to shadow the great Stephen West on one of his incredibly popular workshops: Color Play The Westknits Way. Here, I got to observe and learn about taking a workshop and how to make it engaging as well as entertaining to the participants. In addition to that, I got to join in and go out of my comfort zone and explore colour-mashing, something my mother was always known for in her crochet work and I tried to forget! It was a really good workshop, Stephen makes it fun. I hope to achieve that one day!

Here are some pics:

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Hello Luvvies!

Capel Cross cardigan

How are you all? I hope fine. The weather has been pretty mixed here in the UK – first it was insufferable heat, then came the humidity which left many of us looking like alpacas, after that we had relentless rain and now… it’s surprisingly mild out there this week!

Weather has an effect on ‘*weather*’ or not I should take photos outside [groan]! 😅 I end up opting for inside most of the time.

Capel Cross Cardi – update

Having been hit with a run of bad luck with this project: a combination of poor yarn choice for the wear-ability factor, plus the fragility of certain yarns. This then was followed by a further two re-knits. The final knitting attempt was the winner! Because if it wasn’t, I was quite prepared to perform a ceremonial burn!!! Then came the grading exercise…ugh! Anyway, call-outs for testing has begun and we can crack on with that around the middle of September.

Despite my headaches, it was actually a really EASY knit! It flowed beautifully and I didn’t mind knitting 3 of these – in fact, I’m looking forward to knitting a 4th. I found a lovely Sport Weight yarn called Currel | Sport by Meadowyarn. It has the perfect characteristics for this type of project.

Capel Cross cardigan

JimiKnits Volume One Book
Front cover of JimiKnits booklet

My first pattern book is now available on my website: www.jimiknits.com. It contains 12 patterns that are already available on Ravelry, but contained in a nice and shiny new book!

What I’m currently reading
Books: A Year of Techniques / Something New to Learn About

I often like to swot up on knitting techniques because it always seems to me that I don’t know everything about knitting – and really, I WANT to know everything! The lovely Jen from Arnall Culliford Knitwear gave me some books from her Something New To Learn About series: Cables and Lace and A Year Of Techniques. I must say, after reading these, I reckon that I will no longer be making a feature out of the mistakes in my knitting! Check out her latest book called Boost Your Knitting. Imagine, a whole year of projects that covers an enormous array of knitting techniques that you were too scared to do – but here, you’re taken through each step carefully with photos and later on, with video tutorials. I’ll certainly be following this carefully.

OPP – Other People’s Patterns

My hand dyed yarns x 3

Riley Stripe by Jeanette Sloan.
It happens very rarely, but I do knit other designer’s patterns. No point in re-inventing the wheel when it’s right there, huh? I’ve got yarn that I hand dyed many years ago wound into cakes, raring to go for a Riley Stripe. I love the texture and patterning – it’s a 2-colour project, but I might see if I can turn it into a 3-colour, so that I can make use of all the yarns I have here.

Solvik Shirt by Skeindeer Knits
© Skeindeer Knits

Solvik Shirt by Skeindeer Knits.
I’m also keen to knit this – it calls for a worsted weight yarn, so I’m tempted to use a strand of linen and a strand of mohair for it. I’m hoping the detail won’t get lost in all that fluff! I love that top though!

The Wool Monty – Sheffield June 2019

The lovely ladies: Rosie, Mand and Debbie invited me to attend The Wool Monty Show, Sheffield’s first yarn and fibre crafts event. As you can imagine, I was delighted and said, YES, YES YES!!

There were ‘firsts’ for everything here: my First event stand; launching my First book and taking part in Sheffield’s First yarn show. I was super-excited, but at the same time bricking it, because I had never seen a show where the vendor was only selling patterns and not with yarn! The debate here was will I have enough patterns to sell? If I didn’t, I wasn’t sure that my tap dancing and singing was going to cut it, somehow! 😝

About the Event

The organisers were absolutely lovely – they were incredibly helpful and kind. The whole event was organised really well – the layout was carefully thought out, the vendors were well selected, offering amazing variety, as well as something different from other fibre fests.

The show was held at the FlyDSA Sheffield Arena – it’s huge! It’s a perfect venue for this type of event because it offered ample free parking for ticket holders and it was close to other amenities (shops, supermarkets and an IKEA!). It was also perfect for people with mobility issues, offering easy access in and out of the building, as well as lots of space to manoeuvre around the stands.

I particularly loved the little sofas they had dotted around the floor space, great for when you want to take a break, sit down and knit! Just what is needed in an event like this.

Being it’s first ever show, the turn-out was probably as expected. But saying that, people came to spend money, and they did! This bodes well for next year’s event if the organisers decide to do one. I hope they do!

See the gallery below:

I was too busy with my stand to take many photos, but I did take some during the set up hours.

Conclusion

I would highly recommend this event to anyone who is interested in yarn and fibre crafts. It offers a diverse spectrum of people, craft skills and geography – not the same old names of the more established events. There are some hidden gems here and you’d be pleasantly surprised. The Wool Monty is offering something new and something fresh. Plus, the people of Sheffield are warm and chatty – what’s not to love? 😊

I’m looking forward to the Wool Monty Show next time! ❤️

 

Woah! What Just Happened there?!

Stuff happened….! 😮

Sorry for the hiatus, but lately there’s been a wildfire of activity in the JimiKnits camp. There is SO much to share with you, sadly some of it is secret, but I’m itching to tell you all about it. Let me see what I can divulge…

Carol Feller collaboration

OK, keep it under your hat, but I’m doing a collaboration with Carol Feller for the launch of her new book that’s coming out later this year (maybe Autumn perhaps?). I’ve been a great admirer of her work for a long time and she asked me to design something using her new yarn collection called Nua Worsted. I must say, this yarn is a dream to knit with, it looks and feels gorgeous and can take a pretty good beating when you block it! I can’t yet show you what I’ve designed with it, but hopefully I can get away with this little teaser…

sneak peek at my new design

The Wool Monty – 15 & 16 June, Sheffield UK

The organizers at The Wool Monty yarn event have kindly invited me to hold a small stand in the ‘Meet The Designer’ area. It’s a place where a few of us can showcase our designs. I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’ve been busy sorting out knitted samples to bring with me and working on revamping some of my patterns to be printed. I’m not sure what the general footfall will be like, so I have no idea how many patterns I ought to print. Any thoughts? What should I do if I sell out of copies? I’m not sure that my singing and tap dancing is going to cut it somehow! 😳

The Wool Monty promotional banner

If you’re coming to this event, you’ll get the opportunity to see my first printed pattern booklet. Did you know that I’ve got 54 patterns on Ravelry.com? Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d have that many. It was a hard task trying to choose just 12 for this book. I called it Volume One… purely because I couldn’t think of a clever or witty name for my first book! Anyway, this is the artwork for the front cover:

Front cover of JimiKnits booklet

Yarningham – 13 & 14 July, Birmingham UK

The lovely ladies at Yarningham have asked me to design a pattern that will be featured in the event brochure. I can’t wait for you to see it, but hopefully you’ll get teasers and reveals nearer the time. I’ll be attending the event on the Saturday – a good opportunity to blow my birthday money on yarn and crafts! 😜

I'm going to Yarningham badge

Check out their Instagram feed:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bx2l6eLBhBD/?igshid=j90qcyoe0xad

MDK March Mayhem Event

Thank you all so much for taking the time to vote for my pattern (see the web page here: https://www.masondixonknitting.com/mdk-march-mayhem-2019-the-bracket/ ! What a blast, eh? I’m enormously grateful to have one of my patterns selected. Pixham made it to Round 2, which to me is awesome! And congratulations to Carol Feller for winning it with her Tabouli cardigan, it is a lovely design.

MDK pixham vote today. voting is over.

JimiKnits out in the wild..

So… there I was, minding my own business when…

1) ..up pops a little notice on Instagram. Basically, it was a little excerpt in a recent edition of Simply Knitting magazine (Issue 184) featuring my Chrysler Fingerless Mitts pattern. Big thanks to Ellinesscrafts for flagging this up for me because I would never have known! See below:

Chrysler Fingerless Mitts in Simply Knitting Magazine

By the way, check out Ellinesscrafts’ YouTube channel and follow her knitting & crocheting journey. It’s nice seeing how other people develop their craft skills.

2) ..a sudden hive of activity surrounding this pattern: Widden. It was all due to the hilarious Grocery Girls! Check out their YouTube episode, Widden is the subject of their discussion at 40:00 minutes in:

3) ..a small article about me in their #diversknitty page of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival program, back in March:
Wool Press clip

And all of this is thanks to Jeannette Sloan, for highlighting the discussion about race, equality and inclusion in the crafting community. If it wasn’t for her, I would still be here, minding my own business and very little else would have changed. If you haven’t read her article, read it here: http://www.jeanettesloandesign.com/black-people-do-knit.html

Just off the needles…

I’ve almost finished writing the pattern to my Capel Cross cardi. I knitted another sample and changed a few (minor) things about the design. I didn’t think that the first sample met with my complete satisfaction, although the yarn was perfect for it, it was just certain elements on it that was concerning me. I’m much happier with this version (see below), but I would definitely recommend the yarn I used for the original sample. The pattern will be available for testing soon.

Phew! Off to have a cup of tea…! 😅
See you soon!

Jx

 

Diversity and inclusion at EYF 2019

Worth sharing…

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This time next week I’ll be travelling up to Scotland for my first Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

Initially I hadn’t planned on visiting the show but a couple of opportunities arose which made it a good excuse to combine these meetings with seeing some of our non knitting friends. (As for who I’m meeting, can’t say, sorry!) Plus going to EYF meant I could basically drool my way around the Corn Exchange at a fibre event which started after Sam and I relocated to the south coast. What I hadn’t envisaged was being asked to be part of a panel discussion on  Diversity and Inclusion taking place on Sunday the final day.

Those of you already aware of the current conversations about racism and the lack of diversity in the knitting community will know that this was arranged to replace the scheduled speaker, Kate Davies who unfortunately had to withdraw due…

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I Tried to Make a Skirt!

You know me, I love to weave on my 18″ rigid heddle loom. Sometimes I just warp up the loom with some leftover yarns, or lone skeins that were remnants from past projects. I try to avoid waste wherever I can.

For this project, I used odd skeins of bright coloured DK weight yarns from Unbelieva-wool and Skein Queen. I ran off a length of fabric until I ran out of yarn. There was enough there to make a skirt… so I did, sort of!

The fabric width was only 14”, so to make the skirt slightly longer, I used the remaining length, divided it into 4 equal widths and sewed them together lengthwise. That would give me a waistband as well as some length.

In an attempt to make the skirt look a bit more professional, I lined it using some polyester fabric from an old kimono-style dressing gown. It is a slippery sucker to work with on a sewing machine, but luckily I didn’t have to hem it!

Feeling ambitious and also inspired after watching The Great British Sewing Bee on BBC TV, I thought it would be a great idea to put in darts. This would give the skirt some shape and look less boxy. The fabric is quite thick, so I’m not sure it was such a good idea, but anyway I left it in. I also tried to insert a zip, but the fabric kept growing sideways and the more I ‘handled’ the fabric, the wider it seemed to get. So I ripped out the zip and inserted a crudely applied waistband elastic instead.

 

I wouldn’t call myself an experienced sewist because the stitching on this is laughable, but having said that, the skirt actually fits well and is very wearable!

I normally put my clothes through hell, so we’ll see how long this skirt lasts before I yank it on barbed wire, or Velcro, or something ridiculous like that!  😂

The Luxury of Hindsight…

If I were to make this again, I would:

  • use a wool yarn with nylon content for extra strength (not essential, but nice to have).
  • make the fabric wider, if possible (the full 18” width).
  • use a lining fabric with less static electricity!
  • make a waistband casement instead of sewing the elastic on directly onto the fabric.
  • not bother with putting in darts! I mean, who cares?!

😊

Silly Names for Patterns!

OK, OK, yes… I know… I’m guilty of this too! But I’m only doing it for uniqueness sake, which helps to make it easy to find my patterns in the Ravelry database! Most other patterns have ‘normal’ names that either describe their shape, pattern or style etc.. There’s also been a trend in unpronounceable pattern names (ugh!). But really, I don’t go out of my way to make my patterns sound idiotic, because in fact there is an actual reason behind their names…!

Tanjobi = Japanese for ‘birthday’.

Tanjobi

I do actually speak Japanese – not super-fluent, but enough to get around the country, ask for directions, order a beer and find a toilet – you know, essential stuff! The reason for calling this pattern Tanjobi, was that I designed it on my birthday. Simple as that! I could have given it a name that best describes the design… yada yada… but really, it would have gotten lost in the database under names such as “Emily” or “Cable Sweater”.

Under Duress

Under Duress

Actually, I was going to call this top ”Ready, Steady, Knit!” (named after a popular British TV cooking challenge show called ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’ – see it on YouTube: http://youtu.be/cW4GfQ6L2Oc)* on account that I had a limited amount of yarn in these colours and that I wanted to wear the resulting item for an event coming soon. So, the pressure was on for me to get it done by Christmas and I wasn’t sure if I had enough yarn to even make it. Under Duress felt like a more appropriate name somehow!

*I still think Ready, Steady, Knit! should be a thing – in this case, a knitter is given an amount of yarn (any colours or bases) and their goal is to create something using as much of it as they can! Sounds like a fun challenge to me!

Céri Beret

Céri BeretThis is the story of how it went… I was at my local yarn store when I spotted this gorgeous grey/black pompom. Next to that was a large ball of yellow chunky yarn called Roma by Debbie Bliss. The conversation between myself and the sales assistant went like this:

SA: Ooh, nice choice! What are you thinking of making with this?
Me: A hat, most likely.
SA: Sadly, we don’t store any patterns here for that yarn…
Me: Oh, don’t worry about me, I’ll think of something.
SA: What? You’re going to make something up?
(now, she’s looking at me like I’ve grown two heads!)
Me: Er, yeah… I usually do.
SA: Blimey!
(shaking her head in disbelief)
SA:
I can’t imagine working without a pattern. You will show me what you make with it, won’t you?
Me: Yes sure, no problem!

The next day, I showed her my finished hat. She was so amazed by it that she asked me to knit one for her too! And I did. Then I wrote the pattern for it and named it after her! Her name is Kerry, but for database reasons, I changed the spelling to Céri! 😊