Isogashi, isogashiiiii….!! 🌍

Yzzy Mitts & Cowl

Isogashi (Japanese) = busy.

New Releases

Pattern: Capel Cross

“Finally!” I hear you say! Yeah, I’m inclined to agree. It was a journey, I must say. Being such a perfectionist where my patterns are concerned means that I’m never knowingly putting out rubbish! I’m slow at this and I know it, but I’d rather be slow and be sure that I’ve produced the best work that I can. I really enjoyed knitting this – so much so that I made three! I’m looking to knit a fourth soon! ❤️

Click here Capel Cross pattern: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/capel-cross

Capel Cross Cardi
Capel Cross Cardigan in Blue and Pink

Pattern: Yzzy Mitts & Cowl

A collaboration with Ysolda, launching their new yarn base called Moss DK: BFL/Masham – a gorgeously soft and lofty yarn that has the power to retain heat and the light/airiness in weight to not overwhelm you. Perfect for fingerless mitts, cowls, scarves, shawls and definitely jumpers.

Check out Ysolda’s website for the Yzzy Mitts and Cowl Kit pack – ideal gift for any occasion: https://ysolda.com/collections/kits/products/yzzy-cowl-and-mitts-kit

Also…

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JimiKnits Special Offer:  BOGHOff! (aka. Buy One Get Half Off)

BUY YZZY MITTS PATTERN AND GET YZZY COWL HALF PRICE! Just add both patterns to your shopping cart in Ravelry.
Offer ends 31 Dec 2019.

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Yzzy Mitts & Cowl
Yzzy Mitts & Cowl. © Photo by Ysolda.

Cosy Knits Book Launch – Dublin, Ireland. October 2019

I had the opportunity to take part in a book launch for Carol Feller’s latest pattern book: “Cosy Knits” at This Is Knit in Dublin. It was exciting to finally meet a designer whom I’ve admired since I took one of her workshops back in 2011. It was that year that I decided to embark on pattern writing and she guided us through all the maths (and it was a LOT of maths!). As you know, my shawl pattern, ‘Terrain‘ is in Carol’s book, so it seemed fitting that I should turn up to support her. The purpose of the event was to talk to a small audience about the pattern and how it’s constructed and to explain my design ‘process’ (personally I call it ‘madness’, but let’s keep it PC, huh?) and also talk about the creative thinking behind it. I’m not gonna lie, I was bricking it – I’m not used to speaking in public, or to any crowd beyond 5 people! I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I think I got away with it…! It was times like that that I wished I could sing and tap dance!

It was an absolutely fab day! I met some wonderful people, drank my first pint of Guinness (oooh!), ate loads and laughed and cracked jokes until it was time for bed. If you’re in Dublin, check out This Is Knit! It’s an amazing yarn store, filled with a large range of yarns and you’ll always be welcomed with a warm, Irish “Hallo, there!”.

Coming up next…!

Waltham Abbey Wool Show
Come see me at Waltham Abbey Wool Show!

Put it in your diaries: Sunday 19th January 2020 – The Waltham Abbey Wool Show, Waltham Abbey, Essex, UK. I’ll be holding a stand and showcasing my work. There’ll be patterns, knitted samples, books and other goodies! Stocks will be limited, so come early! 😘

Buy your tickets for the show: https://www.walthamabbeywoolshow.co.uk/

See you soon! x

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!

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

 

New Year, New Craft Skills

I’m hoping to set off the New Year with a new craft skill, Weaving! Among all the textile crafts that I have yet to explore, weaving was somehow never  considered before, that was until August last year. It was then that I had the chance to pre-order a rigid heddle loom from an independent artisan, with a promise that it would be ready to ship in a few weeks.

For various reasons, the seller could not achieve this, but I remained patient… that was until I took part in a Scandinavian Weaving Workshop in Oslo last October. After that, I could not wait to get my hands on this new loom so that I could knock out scarves, cushion covers, bags and all sorts!

While waiting patiently, I was using the frame loom from that I got from the workshop. It’s a cool little gadget, but it only does small projects. I could, if I knew what I was doing, make a number of small squares and stitch them together to make a bigger cloth – but that would require planning and patience, of which are in short supply at the moment!

In the meantime, I’ve been making all sorts of samples on my frame loom. I’ve been mostly using DK merino yarns, which seem to have the right thickness and strength to act as warp thread (lengthwise) and weft thread (widthwise) on the loom. Depending on how hard you beat the work, the fabric’s tension can be loose and airy (light beat), or thick and dense (hard beat). I must have been beating these suckers to death because a number of my samples are thick like carpet!

Does anyone need a mug rug??

Weaving on a frame loom is surprisingly calming and enjoyable. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and you can watch TV while you work (great Netflix bingeing accompaniment!). You can do a small project quite quickly. Within about 20 minutes (I’m not properly timing myself, but I know it’s a short time), I could create a 16cm x 16cm (6.25” x 6.25”) square of fabric. Below are some of my samples where I’ve been playing around with pattern formations and tension.

Well, there’s no point just making squares and not knowing what to do with them, is there? So, why not attach them as feature pockets to my handmade project bags!

Knitting project bags with weaving as a feature pocket.

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

OMFSocks!!!

Socks…. It was the main reason why I wanted to learn how to knit, I think. I remember, wearing my favourite pair of multi-coloured pop socks and wishing to goodness that they would just bloody-well stay up and not keep falling down to my ankles!!!  You can imagine, me, having to suddenly stop in the middle of the street to pull them up every five strides (underneath my jeans, even!). Annoying! I wished back then that I could make myself a pair of socks where I could dictate the cuff size and not have this problem.

As early as I could, I wanted to get in there and learn how to knit in the round. It was my main ambition. I was determined to make myself a pair of socks. This was my first project:

knitted shitkickers
Knitted Shitkickers in Green Tea and Rose Self-Striping yarn

Oh, I do have fond memories of these babies! I remember searching all over Ravelry for the easiest beginner sock pattern/recipe that I could find. I found this pattern: Knitted Shitkickers by Laurel Lancaster – I reckon I was drawn to the name! The funny thing about this pattern is that it shows you, step-by-step how to construct a sock using 2 circular needles, but at the time, I was working with DPNs and had never used circulars before, so I had to mentally transpose the instructions in accordance to DPNs as opposed to circulars. I’m amazed that I even managed to figure that out!!

Of course the love affair with socks still goes on. I keep a sock project in my car so that I can whip it out if I have to wait around during the school run, or if I’ve got a doctor’s appointment etc.

Some of my sock yarn choices are a little outrageous, I mean, I wouldn’t actually wear them as a focal piece of my outfit. I would wear them under boots or jeans mostly. They’re my secret pleasure and I really don’t mind if people cannot see my socks!

Here’s a few of my favourites:

Blue & grey stripe socks
Simple Tube Socks with afterthought heel in blue and grey yarn.
Sakana sock
Sakana by Jimiknits. My very first ever published pattern!
bitter & twisted sock
Bitter & Twisted Socks by JimiKnits. Made using Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn in Sour Cherry
Jelly Roll socks
Jelly Rolls by M Bryner. Yarn: Unbelievawool sock in Purple & Hedgehog Fibre sock in Monet.
LBW socks
LBW by JimiKnits. Yarn: Plucky Sweater in Breakfast on Fifth et. al
Dancing Bamboo Socks by Holly Daymude. Yarn: Kells Sport by Three Irish Girls in Maidenhair.
Booty-Licious Socks with Matching Pants! Socks were made with yarn from the Pants and Socks club from Jo.Knit.Sew. The socks were made on the Addi Express 22 pin.