Siren’s Song Shawl, a new designing adventure

Apologies, as this post is long overdue.

I promised myself this year I would have posted more often because I would have had more free time to dedicate to my knitting and crochet. But then, as usual, life happens and you need to go along with it.

The project I am showing you today is very close to my heart because it took me some time to make it, and also because it is my first real design project.

I discovered the joy of knitting shawls only in the past year or so. I never thought I would enjoy them so much, but I quickly discovered that I really really do. I made several ones as presents for family and friends in the past year, and with each of them, I learned a new technique.

This learning process gave me confidence and I started toying with the idea of creating my own design for a shawl.

One day, while I was at my local yarn shop The Knitting Corner, I saw this luxurious yarn and I simply fell in love with it.

(Louisa Harding Amitola – 80% wool, 20% silk)

I cannot describe how amazing it feels to the touch! So soft, natural and organic… It was at that moment that I decided to take the plunge and get creative.

The colour shade was really the inspiration behind this shawl. You see, I always had a fascination for mermaids and sirens. As I child I spent hours reading stories about them and I also pretended to have a mermaid tail while I was bathing or in the pool. Needless to say, the Little Mermaid’s story was one of my favourites.

This yarn brought me back to those memories. As I was knitting my swatch I could see the stripes forming and the alternation of the colours really gave my heart a little jolt of happiness. I was just missing a little extra shine and my childhood memory would be entertained!

 

Luckily, in the months I spent experimenting shawl knitting, I also learned how to knit with beads (both threaded and hooked as you go). It was a bit of a challenge for me to include beads in my first shawl design, but I felt the addition would really make a difference.

Truly, knitting with beads is not difficult. It simply requires a little of patience and a very small hook (0.5/1.0 mm) or some dental floss! YouTube has plenty of fantastic tutorials on using beads while knitting, but my favourite learning method remains a well explained written one, like the one made by Katie Rose on her blog “Spin, spin, spin”.

And here we go, I tried to create an edge that would be simple, but fabulous (at least to my eyes). I used Debbie Abrahams size 6 (4mm) beads, Night Sky.


It all started with the edge… but it continued with short rows. Yes, one thing I learned from my experience with shawls is that I prefer to knit them bottom-up (or edge up). Even if I understand the pros of traditional top-down knitting (measuring the size and the length of the shawl as you go is the main one), I still prefer the fact that after a few VERY VERY VERY long rows (over 300 stitches), I will be out of my misery as I will have fewer stitches to work for the body of the shawl.

Besides, short rows are fun! And they surely help when you want some mindless knitting that does not require precise counting. Set your marker at the edges and knit until you get there. Rinse and repeat until you finish your shawl!

And this is how my shawl turned out.

 

 

Indeed, I was really pleased with myself and after receiving some really encouraging feedback I decided to write down the pattern and also publish it on Ravelry. If you want to give it a go, you can find the pattern here.

 

I am still knitting avidly and I have quite a few projects that I want to share with you all, just bear with me… I promise I will take the camera out and get ready for more posts. In the meantime, I will keep contemplating your amazing creations over Facebook groups, blogs and Ravelry pages… you all are really inspiring!

Until the next project, be safe, keep knitting, have fun!

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Simple Eyelet baby blanket -free pattern

Hello everyone!

Life has been quite full lately, so I didn’t have a lot of time to update my blog.

To make you all forgive me for my prolonged absence, I decided to post a free pattern for you knitters to enjoy.

The Summer is over, and we can start thinking about knitting cozy wolly blankets once again.

I had a couple of balls of chunky yarn staring at me for quite some time. I don’t even remember where or when I purchased them (let’s say it was so long  ago, that the yarn maker discontinued this shade – eeeek!!).  I loved the subtle hues of this yarn: they are clearly visible, but they are not too strong to distract the eye.

I don’t often work in chunky yarn. As you might have noticed from my past projects, I enjoy lace and fine yarns the most. Nevertheless, I also appreciate how fast and cosy the chunky knits are.

Knitting this blanket was a funny project for me, mainly because it took shape while I was working it. There was no real planning, the choice of which stitches to use just came to me naturally.

Now, I am not suggesting that I am a yarn listener (or maybe I would like to be a yarn whisperer) but sometimes I think it is fun to let our imagination take control and let our needles guide us along the way.

So after a few rows of garter, and some more of stockinette stitch I decided to add a very simple eyelet motif.

I think simplicity paid it off this time. I really liked the contrast of the chunky yarn and the lightness of the eyelets.

So I wrote down the pattern for all of you to try, hopefully it will make sense, since as I said before it was quite an improv knitting experience for me.

Simple Eyelet Baby Blanket

The finished blanket will measure approximately 60 x 57 cm once blocked.

Materials:
2 x 100g balls of Cygnet Grousemoor Chunky Yarn (25% wool – 75% acrylic) of your preferred shade. You can use another chunky yarn that meets the gauge.

1 pair of 5,5 mm knitting needles (you may use circular needles if you prefer, but you will knit flat)

tapestry needle to weave the ends in

Gauge:

10 cm / 4 inchess = 15 sts / 20 rows

Stitches used:

Garter : Knit all on RS and WS of the work

Stockinette Stitch: Knit on the RS and purl on the WS

Eyelet Pattern: See chart

Execution:

Cast on 90 sts.

Work 6 rows in garter.

K5 at each end, work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

K5 at each end, work the eyelet pattern, plus K2 at the end of the 13 repetitions.

Repeat the eyelet pattern, which is composed of 8 rows for each repeat (in the chart you see the stitches worked on the RS. On the WS keeping the first and last 5 sts in garter purl all the stitches). Repeat the eyelet pattern 12 times (96 rows in total).

K5 at each end, work 4 rows in stockinette stitch.

Work 5 rows in garter, on the WS knit all the stitches while binding off.

Weave the ends in and block to measure.

Eyelet pattern chart:

  repeat 13 times, then at the end of the RS row + k2

Eyelet pattern written instructions:

Worked on the central 80 stitches

Row 1: (k4, k2tog, yo) repeat 13 times, + k2

Row 2: k5, p80, k5

Row 3: (k3, k2tog, yo, k1) repeat 13 times, + k2

Row 4: k5, p80, k5

Row 5: (k2, k2tog, yo, k2) repeat 13 times, + k2

Row 6: k5, p80, k5

Row 7: (k6) repeat 13 times, + k2

Bonus picture:

Please send me your feedback, I would love to hear your experience with this pattern 🙂

Happy knitting!

 

 

Edit: 23/03/2018

Since some of you were confused by my written instruction I decided to edit the original post and to add a more extensive explanation. I hope it helps! Happy knitting!


Disclaimer:
Simple Eyelet Blanket is an original design by Simply Yarn
© 2015 Simply Yarn. I have created this as a pattern for personal use. Items made from this pattern may be sold, but the creator of the design should be credited. No part of this pattern may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without prior permission of the copyright owners having been given in writing. Please contact me at simply.yarn@gmail.com for further information.

 

My own take on Low Tide (from Tin Can Knit)

I am baaaaack!
We are back into the magic real of yarn and today I wish to share a very special journey.

Between March and April we celebrate a few birthdays in my family: my mom on 29 March,  then my brother on 5 April and last my Sister-in-law on 14 April.

It is tradition for me to try and make hand made presents for my family members as much as I can and birthdays are the perfect occasion for me to plan ahead of time and find the perfect item I cam make for them.

Today I am going to show you what I made for my sister-in-law Shall. Shall is really close to me, I feel blessed that we liked each other right away and we care genuinely for one other like if we were proper sisters. It is not always the case with extended family, and since I moved to the UK to be with her brother, I feel double blessed that his whole family accepted me so well. It certainly made my life easier in a foreign country 😀

A couple of things to know about Shall. She is really active, down to earth and practical, but she is also a very girly girl when she wants to. This year being “girly” seemed to have become the main theme of her birthday celebrations, most of us picked up this vibe for her special day. It could also be that for the first time in a long time she hosted a pamper night for her girlfriends.

Side note: the pamper night was great, I met a lovely bunch of ladies and I also purchased some products for myself. If you are interested in beauty, then you should really have a look at what this brand sells. Bonus factor: it is all natural and cruelty free (aka vegan friendly)! Have a look yourself at Tropic products.

But I digress, back to the knitting part of the story.

I wanted to make her something special for when she goes out and meet with friends. I wanted it to be something nice, but versatile at the same time, so that she would not feel pressured into just wearing it “on special occasions”.

The solution came from TinCanKnit and her gorgeous pattern called Low Tide (Ravelry link). I fell in love the moment I saw it and I knew it was going to be the perfect sweater for Shall.

The pattern called for a 4ply yarn, and since Shall is vegan I thought that Rowan Summerlite 4 ply Cotton would be a perfect choice. I selected the shade 418 Washed Linen. Thank you Doreen from The Knitting Corner for providing me with the yarn I needed in a super speedy way. Ah, did I forget to tell you? I started this project on 17 March less than a month away from her birthday (I love to knit on the edge, so far for planning ahead).

The pattern asks to knit the bodice in three parts first. It is a lace bodice, and I really enjoyed knitting it. This is a picture of it in the making (some of you may have already seen this picture on my Instagram account – find me @Simply.Yarn).

The cotton knitted beautifully. I was really impressed with the quality of the spun.It never splitted once and the gauge was spot on.

The pattern also advised to block the bodice pieces into shape in order to get the exact measurements for the size you are knitting. I will not lie, I was nervous. Cotton does not stretch that much, and I admit it here in shame… I don’t own a blocking mat and pins set. So I had to improvise. Don’t laugh.. we need to be inventive from time to time. This is how I resolved the issue at hand.

It was not beautiful, and it was not very safe for the fingers… but it did the trick. I wet blocked the bodice and I put it together in order to knit the rest of the sweater.

Then a long marathon of stockinette stitch began. I knitted on circular needles back and forth since I had about 270 sts on my 3.5 mm pins. The pattern called for the body to be 14 inches (about 35 cm) long. I added a few extra rows as I liked my edge to be in garter stitch so that it would not roll up.

Once the body was done I tackled the shoulders. Be aware that if you want to knit your own Low Tide it calls for the short row shaping technique, no panic as I know there are many tutorials on line if you need any help. This was my first time doing it, but I was really lucky as I had a knitting masterclass hosted at The Knitting Corner a week before Shall’s birthday where the tutor showed it to us in person (perfect timing!).

Last step was chosing the right buttons for the front. I had selected two options. Can you guess which one I went for?

No need to add anyhting more. I was delighted with the result. The pattern creates a perfect shape and fits many different body types. The yarn was simpy sublime to work with, it is extremely soft and the draping it creates is beautiful.

Thank you Doreen once again for letting me take some pictures in her yarn shop on a proper manniquin (we saved Shall from having to model it during her birthday celebrations).

I give you my own version of the Low Tide from Tin Can Knit; I also made the sleeves a little bit longer and added the same garter edge that I already had knitted at the bottom of the sweater (bonus of the picture: gorgeous yarns in the background!).

And now a few closer shots of the bodice. From the back…

…and the front (did you guess right about the buttons?).

That’s it for this post! Next one will be about a gorgeous pattern that I found online… for free! Stay tuned!