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

 

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! 😊

Slooooow….!!!

It’s been a slow few months… battling with menopausal symptoms, I haven’t slept properly since November, I can’t seem to think straight and my body thermostat wants to play games with me!!! Grrr!! Anyway, I’m soldiering on. 😳 🔥❄😰

To keep me from going completely mad, I’ve been revisiting past patterns that I felt could be improved upon. Friday Street Shawl has just recently had a relaunch. I love this pattern and I’ve always wanted to explore the idea of having extra colours on it – and now I have! Check out the recent test knits too, they’re fab! ❤

Friday Street Shawl – 5 colour version

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that I don’t only knit, but I also play tennis! I started playing regularly when I was 40, but it was a steep learning curve. Things like: hand/eye coordination, muscle reflex and ball trajectory skills were not in my original training as a track and field athlete. Simply keeping the ball in court is quite an achievement, y’know! 😅


…and then there’s the weather conditions to contend with!

Can you be-weave it?!

Since the Scandinavian weaving workshop last year, I’ve been dabbling with proper weaving, using a rigid heddle loom. I’m still trying to figure out the terminology and finding useful ways to use weaving fabric, but at least it is helping me to beat down my yarn stash a lot faster than I could if I was just only knitting!

My first woven scarf (with mistakes galore!)

My second woven scarf (with fewer mistakes in it!)

My cushion cover

Design Process

Now and then, an idea for a design comes to my mind, and if I bother to sketch it out it will eventually come out just like I imagined it. If I don’t sketch it, this means that it is either a simple construction and is easy to knit (therefore why bother getting the crayons out), or it is a complex design and I have no sodding idea how this thing is going to look!! Here’s some examples:

Sketch it, yay!:

The finished result – Polesden Lacy:

No sketch- uh, oh! But here’s the finished result anyway! Pattern: Massive Attack blanket.

Some are designed directly on the needles – don’t ask me how, usually I just cast on and see where it takes me…!

Below is one of two versions, I’m going to write up both:

Upcoming designs

Widden (shown above) – is the wide cropped, sideways knit top. Pattern is almost complete and will go for tech editing soon.
Kirkbymoorside (the name comes from a town in North Yorkshire where I originally bought the yarn!) – a textured, squishy throw using Heavy worsted/Aran weight yarn. I can’t wait to start knitting this! 😀

Hej, hej!

That, my friend, is the extent to which my fluency in Norwegian will go. That and perhaps, ‘Tak’. It’s embarrassing really, when I can already speak French and Japanese, it’s a wonder why I didn’t make more of an effort to speak Norwegian while I was in Oslo. I think it was mostly to do with the fact that the Norwegians already speak excellent English, therefore why should I insult/bore/inflict upon them my poor attempt at Norwegian?!

Oslo Strikke Festival 2017

A festival of yarn and crafts, was held in October at the famous Norwegian Folk Museum. An excellent venue for holding such an event. Not too large, but adequate enough to hold a fair number of stalls. Classes and workshops took place in outbuildings a short walk away from the main hall. And when you want to take a breather from all that yarn (not possible, I know), you can go out and visit the exhibitions and its real-life historical villages, buildings and homes.

I made the most of it and took a Scandinavian Weaving Workshop held by the lovely Gunn Kristin Halvorsen from www.scandinavianweaving.etsy.com. Although the whole workshop was being taught purely in Norwegian, I didn’t have any trouble following the instructions – after all, craft in any language is still craft!

I noticed how considerably colder it was compared to London. This meant that I needed something more substantial than the merino hat and mitts I was wearing. So, I bought some yarn and quickly knitted a hat and mitts combo – you know, like you do!

I went with a view to experiencing Scandinavian yarn and culture in the 5 short days I was there and I was particularly impressed by their transport systems! Norwegian yarns are very similar to our Scottish breed yarns – they appear scratchy, but are very light in weight. I was told that they soften up considerably once washed too, so I am really looking forward to diving into these beauties (below)!

Here’s a pic of my entire haul:

On The Subject of Mitts…

Newly launched is my Kitty Whiskers fingerless mitts pattern, written for the Addi Express 22-pin. This is a fun pattern that enlists the use of 2 colour yarns where one overlays the other and features a cute ‘braiding’ technique that look almost like kitty whiskers! 😻

Coupon code

Get 25% OFF – use coupon code: kitty. Offer ends 30th November 2017, midnight GMT. Buy it here: https://www.ravelry.com/redeem/jimiknits?code=kitty

New Pattern Release: Galliatt

After months of tweaking, testing and mucking around… I have finally published “Galliatt“. It is a turtle neck lacy poncho-style tunic, comprising 3 colours of worsted weight yarn (or any colour configuration you like!).

It is worked flat in two pieces. The sides are fixed together with your choice of fashionable buttons, facing back-to-back, therefore no button holes are required. It is designed to be roomy, so that you can wear a light sweater underneath. A practical piece for everyday wear.

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Get 20% OFF ALL MY PATTERNS on Ravelry – use code: jimi20 Expires 11th Oct 2017 – GMT. Link: https://www.ravelry.com/designers/jimenez-joseph

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Galliatt is a funny name, I agree, but really it was just a respectful nod to the yarn that inspired the design in the first place. De Rerum Natura’s Gilliatt is a worsted weight, semi-woolen spun, French and European sourced merino yarn, produced in France in an ethical and ecological way. It is available in natural and dyed colours.

© photo source: De Rerum Natura

October Events

Oslo Strikkfestival – Friday 20 October to Sunday 22nd October 2017. Oslo Strikkefestival is a fest for fiber-lovers and yarnaholics in the heart of Oslo! This years’ festival is over three days, from Friday, October 20th to Sunday, October 22nd. For even more fun this year, the festival is taking place in two different venues; Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek and Norsk Folkemuseum.

Friday October 20th: Opening Party! – Knitting lounge, Live Entertainment, Drinks, Snacks and Debates and Movies! Address: Deichmanske Hovedbibliotek, Arne Garborgs plass 4, 0179 Oslo.

Saturday and Sunday October 21st and 22nd – Marketplace, Workshops, Talks, Entertainment, Festival Knitting Lounge and After Party! Address: Norsk Folkemuseum, Museumsveien 10, Bygdøy, 0287 Oslo.

See you there! 😃

Welcome To My Creative Palace

It all started when Hubby hinted that maybe I have “too much yarn” and that my knitting business is “taking over the house” (notice that he hinted it rather than tell it directly. He’s not stupid – I’m sure he can imagine how painful a knitting needle in the ribs must be!).

In truth, I really needed a space to work – a place that was separate from home life, a place to go to when I’m in ‘Knitty Mode’ and a place that I can leave behind when I just want to be myself. Balancing home/work life in the same space is problematic.

He had the brainwave of talking me into moving out when an office space had become available nearby. However, this office space needed some imagination…

See the sloping ceilings, the magnolia walls, the brown features and the lack of natural light….? Ugh! What you don’t get a sense of in these pictures is the size of the place. It’s quite small, about 16m2 split into 2 ‘rooms’ as such. Normally, that would be an adequate space for up to 3 people if all the floor space was accessible, but the slope in certain areas cut out that accessibility. The ceiling height in some parts can be dangerous to those over 5ft 10″ (you know how it goes: ha ha BONK!). Despite this, I felt like I could make this work.

I love a challenge and my challenge was to bring light to a dark room, plus make it into a creative palace!

One way to boost the lighting in a gloomy space is to install numerous spotlights with daylight bulbs in. The other way is to paint everything white – that’s what I did, much cheaper. The sloping ceiling was going to be a problem for my yarn cupboards, as they would not fit in.

I searched online and found a very useful metal-framed, plastic 16-cube modular unit. It’s lightweight, sturdy and easy to assemble. Click here: 16-cube unit. It’s a great little storage unit for keeping yarn. It’s surprisingly strong too, not that yarn is heavy, but they do rack up some weight when there is a large amount of it.

CRW_8491

The ceiling height was an issue again, so this meant that I could only set up the modular unit 4-cubes wide by 3-cubes high. With the remaining pieces I managed to build a 3-up standalone unit, but I was 2 connectors short. This wasn’t a problem, I contacted the vendor and asked them for it and they shipped it to me.

After a week of painting the walls, window frames and assembling stuff, the studio is now ready and looks marvellous! Bright and airy, with all the comforts a knitter would need. ☺️

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Where you goin’, you SuperChunky thing?!!

Well… it’s certainly cold enough to warrant getting out those chunky weight yarns from my stash cupboard – but wait a minute– I don’t have enough chunky yarn to make a sweater!! Oops! 😳

Ha! I’m Just ‘Plying’ with You!

No worries, because I managed to get some help from a fellow Ravster (or ‘Rav-buddy’, ‘Rav-chum’ = a friend on Ravelry.com) called KayGirlsKnitter. He makes these amazing MEGA-chunky sweaters and coats and he does this by plying many strands of yarns of differing weights and fibres together. The result of this is a super-thick strand of knitting that is worked up with needle sizes starting from 10mm upwards.

Taking his techniques on board, I rustled up a quick ‘n’ thick jacket of my own. It doesn’t get nearly cold enough in the UK to need anything as thick as KayGirlsKnitter’s jackets (having said that, it is -3ºc here today, brrr!), so I made my jacket with 9 strands of various yarns using 12mm needles. The fabric composition was a mixture of (in order of quantity): merino, camel, mohair, alpaca, silk and acrylic. Plying yarns like this is a good way to use up your ever-encroaching stash and it creates some beautiful textures and colours. This jacket is so lovely and warm, yet it’s surprisingly light in weight too. I love how it came out – I wear it a lot! 😃

compost jacket by jimiknits

New Pattern Release

Veza = ‘Reveal’ or ‘Show’ in Zulu. I loved knitting this sweater! For me, it was so easy to knit, but I don’t mind telling you it was a b!tch to write the pattern! Size grading maths…Ugh! Anyway, I’m so glad that the pattern and the sweater came out good in the end. My test knitters did a fantastic job on theirs, check them out on the pattern page here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/veza

Veza sweater by jimiknits

veza in blue by jimiknits

On a Lighter Note…

This was a little project I had been working on in the background while I was writing Veza. This is ByeLine… or at least a modified version of it. I’ve simply taken the original design and added a diamond lace pattern to the lower half of it. This modification is so easy to implement, that it doesn’t need another written addendum to the pattern. Just find a lace pattern you like and add it in! I can’t wait to wear it.

byeline in lace by jimiknits

What’s next…?

I’ve been hampered with tendonitis in my wrist since August and it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much heavy-duty knitting for Christmas. If anything, I’m going to have to do something inventive with my Addi Circular Knitting Machines! Projects like this:

pj monster muncher by jimiknits

This little monster is a Pyjama Muncher! A 30cm x 30cm plump cushion with a zip-opening to stow away your PJ’s! I made him using both Addi Prof (22) and Addi King (46) machines, a sewing machine and a pompom maker (all the tools, man!). There’s been quite a few requests for these… particularly from adults, hmm…! 😅