Indie Design Gift-a-long and pattern sale

Apparently, there are people out there who are already contemplating their Christmas shopping and crafting (not me — I’m in total denial about the fact that it’s already November). So, a group of independent designers decided to get together and help make Christmas knitting and crocheting a bit more fun and exciting!

The fun comes in two parts. First: a sale. Use the code “giftalong” on Ravelry between now and midnight on 15 November to get a 25% discount on a huge selection of patterns from more than 100 indie designers.

Second: a giant knit/crochet-a-long in the Indie Design Gift-a-long group on Ravelry. Cast on for any of the participating patterns between 1st November and 31st December and join in the discussion on the group forum board for chances to win some great prizes. (If you already have a copy of one of the participating patterns, you can still take part in the knit/crochet-a-long, just so long as you cast on for the project on or after 1st November.) You don’t need to finish your project before 31st December to be in with a chance of winning (says the person who frequently doesn’t finish her Christmas knitting till January) but it will increase the number of prizes that you’re eligible for.

All of my self-published patterns listed below are included in the event.

Strawberry shawlOren shawlWaterlilies shawl
Southwark Spire socksIrish Stout socksReal Ale socks
Celandine shawlKentigern shawlThe Hill House scarf

If you’re interested in patterns from a particular indie designer (other than me!) check out the full list of participating designers to see if they’re taking part.

Alternatively, take a look through the Participating patterns thread to see if anything catches your eye.

The really good news is that gifts for yourself are eligible for the discount and prizes too so even if you’re not planning on giving anyone else a knitted or crocheted gift this year, why not treat yourself!

Glasgow School of Yarn 2013

It was the Glasgow School of Yarn this weekend and as usual it was chock-full of interesting classes, beautiful yarn and lovely people.

I attended the Two-handed Colourwork class taught by Jon of Easyknits. I originally learnt to knit English-style but I’ve been meaning to learn Continental for a while.

Two-handed colourwork

The class was great. Jon was an engaging teacher and it turns out that learning another style of knitting, while somewhat frustrating, isn’t nearly as hard as I had thought it would be. Being able to hold a yarn in each hand when working in two colours also really speeds up colourwork knitting. Now I just need lots and lots of practice!

Two-handed colourwork

I didn’t have very long to spend in the marketplace and, despite being very tempted by the stitch markers by Owl Print Panda, I came away with just one skein of yarn. This is a skein of Deeply Wicked by Easyknits in the Rude Red colourway. I don’t use red yarn very often but every so often one just speaks to me and this was definitely one of those. I’m already formulating plans for a new sock design using it.

Easyknits Deeply Wicked in Rude Red

In other GSoY news, I finally got around to publishing my Kentigern Shawl pattern that was my entry into last year’s Glasgow School of Yarn design competition.

Kentigern shawl (full circle version)

It was a long time coming but the final pattern containing both the full circle and semi-circle versions is now available on Ravelry.

Yarnwise, issue 57 – Leominster Socks

This weekend has been one of the most exciting in my short career as a knitting designer. Why? Because the latest issue of Yarnwise is out and I have a pattern in it!

Yarnwise, issue 57 - Leominster Socks

Back in November, I saw a post on Ravelry by the editor of  Yarnwise looking for last minute submissions for their Winter/Spring issues. I usually ignore submission calls because the deadlines rarely work well with my day-job and studying and, well, the rest of my life. However, I realised that for this one I had a pattern already mostly designed that fitted one of the themes really well and I had a few days booked off work that I’d be able to spend tweaking the design and actually writing the pattern. So, I knitted up a swatch/sample, put a submission together, sent it in and the rest is history.

Here are the sample socks before they were posted off to have their “proper” photographs taken:

Leominster Socks

I’ll do a full “Story of a design” post at some point but for now I’m too busy grinning at seeing my pattern in print!

Story of a design – Southwark Spire Socks

When we lived in London, my train journeys regularly took me past Southwark Cathedral. It’s an impressive building from all angles but I was always fascinated by two of the spires which are leaded with a beautiful geometric pattern.

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

A bit of trial and error got me a twisted stitch pattern:

and quite a lot more trial and error got me a sock pattern that incorporated it:

Southwark socks

Southwark Spire Socks are now available from Yellow Ginger Designs and Ravelry.

Glasgow School of Yarn 2012

I had a wonderful day at the Glasgow School of Yarn the weekend before last. For the second year running, it took place in the beautiful Queen’s Cross Church, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. It’s not the ideal venue for a knitting event but well worth a visit on its own merits.

Queen's Cross Church, Glasgow

I couldn’t make it along on the Friday but signed up to take Woolly Wormhead‘s hat design class on the Saturday. She brought a huge selection of hats for everyone to try on to judge what style would suit them best and then we got stuck right in to measuring each other’s heads, calculating gauge and working through the maths for our hats. Much frantic knitting then ensued (particularly from me since I had not read the joining instructions carefully enough and brought lighter yarn than was really sensible) as we raced to get as far through our hats as possible. It was a great class and I learned a lot about hats and hat design that will no doubt show up in future patterns. I don’t have a picture of my own hat (which is just about finished) but here are some of the selection of her own designs that Woolly brought with her.

Hat Design Workshop

Because I was in an all day class there wasn’t a lot of time for shopping but I did manage to find a couple of beautiful things in the marketplace at lunchtime. I bought this pretty little project bag from AndSewtoKnit

Knitting project bag

which is just the right size …

Knitting project bag

… for a new shawl project using the yarn that I bought from Old Maiden Aunt.

Oren Shawl

The pattern is my Oren Shawl pattern and this one is going to be for wearing under my coat.

Speaking of patterns, I also got to see my Kentigern Shawl, which was my design competition entry, on display:

Kentigern Shawl

I’m making some final tweaks to the pattern before it goes for editing but it should be available in the next couple of weeks.

Story of a design – Irish Stout Socks

Irish Stout socks

Before Christmas, a company selling a certain brand of Irish stout ran an advertising campaign which implied that men would much rather receive beer as a present than hand-knits. While I know that that is probably true for a lot of men, it’s not true for the men in my family — they would rather have beer and hand-knits, and these socks were my attempt to combine the two.

Irish Stout socks

The socks are knitted from the toe up with a simple cable pattern that keeps the knitting interesting and makes for a snug, stretchy fit. The pattern includes 4 sizes with adjustable foot length and sock height so should fit all but the smallest or largest feet.

Irish Stout Socks are now available from Yellow Ginger Designs and Ravelry.

Pattern: mini toe-up Christmas stocking

As promised, here is the pattern for the mini stockings. They are worked from the toe up with a short-row heel. Some experience with short rows and toe-up cast-ons would be useful but I’ve included links to good tutorials on both if you need some extra help.

This pattern hasn’t been edited or tested by anyone but me yet so let me know if you have any problems.

Mini Christmas stocking


  • 2.75mm needles
  • small amounts of 4 ply yarn in two colours
  • stitch marker to mark beginning of round (optional)
  • tapestry needle (for weaving in ends)

Toe and foot:

Using main colour, cast on 6 stitches using figure of 8 cast-on and knit 1 round. (See this article in Knitty for details of the figure of 8 cast-on.)

Round 2: * K1, m1, k2. Repeat from *. (8 stitches)

Round 3: Knit all.

Round 4: * K1, m1, k2, m1, k1. Repeat from *. (12 stitches).

Rounds 5-10: Knit all.


Row 11: Knit 11 stitches. Wrap last stitch and turn work. (See this Purl Bee tutorial on short rows for details of how to wrap stitches.)

Row 12: Purl 4 stitches. Wrap next stitch and turn.

Row 13: Knit 3 stitches. Wrap next stitch and turn.

Row 14: Purl 2 stitches. Wrap next stitch and turn.

Row 15: Knit 2 stitches. Pick up wrap and knit next stitch. Wrap next stitch and turn.

Row 16: Purl 3. Pick up wraps and knit next stitch.

Row 17: Knit 4. Pick up wrap and knit next stitch. Wrap next stitch (leg stitch).

Row 18: Purl 5. Pick up wrap and knit next stitch. Wrap next stitch (leg stitch).

Row 19: Knit 6 stitches (back to end of row).

Round 20: Knit all stitches, picking up wraps on 1st and 6th stitches.


Rounds 21-30: Knit all stitches.


Change to contrasting colour and turn work so that you are knitting in the opposite direction.

Rows 31-35: Knit all stitches.

Cast off: Knit 2 stitches, place two new stitches back onto left-hand needle and knit these two together. * Knit one stitch, place two new stitches back onto left-hand needle and knit these two stitches together. Repeat from *.

Weave in any ends.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

… which is somewhat unfortunate since I would swear November was only moments ago! A combination of illness, craziness at work and just no energy whatsoever (see points 1 and 2) has meant that I’ve done very little except work, eat and sleep for the past month.

I do have quite a lot of knitting to show you though, starting with my current addiction: mini toe-up seamless Christmas stockings.

Mini Christmas stocking

It’s hard to tell from the picture but the stockings are about 1.5″ tall with a foot length of about 1″. They’re adorable on the tree and look just as good on a handmade Christmas card:

Christmas card with mini stocking

They’re my own design and, if my brain cooperates, I’ll put the pattern up sometime tomorrow.

Story of a design – The Hill House Scarf

Considering that this turned out to be the quickest I ever managed to get a design from initial idea to published pattern, this design came very close to not happening at all.

I grew up in Glasgow surrounded by the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and, if I’m honest, had grown a little jaded with it by the time we moved to London thanks to the proliferation of Mackintosh-inspired tea cosies, tea towels, fridge magnets and place-mats. When I saw the brief for the Glasgow School of Yarn design competition, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to come up with something that I thought was worth entering but I couldn’t stop mulling it over.

Then I thought about how much I had always loved the simple elegance of his furniture and, in particular, the chairs. A little online research led me to the tall, narrow ladderback decorative chairs that he designed for The Hill House in Helensburgh. Click here to see a picture of one of the chairs in its original location.

Initially, I was going to use the geometric pattern in a sock but, much as I loved the pattern, I just couldn’t get it to work as a sock. A scarf was the obvious alternative and the two-colour pattern immediately suggested double knitting.

I used Malabrigo Sock in Natural and Chocolate Amargo for the sample and it’s wonderfully soft and snuggly. The double layer also makes it very warm, perfect for autumn and winter in Glasgow!

The Hill House Scarf is now available from Yellow Ginger Designs and Ravelry.