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KAL news!

A month in and with two Bank Holiday weekends under our belts, the Spring Daybreak Knit-a-Long is romping along! We’re having so much fun in the shop helping you out together colour and yarn combinations (we’re offering the discount on suggested yarns right through the KAL).

Over in the Ravelry thread, there’s hints and support and a chance to see each other’s work in progress, so please drop in for a chat or some inspiration. There’s dozens of completed projects, and several of us have started second or third Daybreaks!

And there’s another Bank Holiday weekend just round the corner, and Daybreak’s an ideal combination of intriguing shaping and easy stocking stitch. So why not join the fun?

Today, we feature the latest in our continuing series of staff projects. This one’s already gone viral here, and we’re always happy to spread the word, so over to you, Jen!

If you have visited This Is Knit you might have noticed there is, a lot of the time, more than one sample of the same pattern hanging from a shop wall. (*ahem* Color Affection!)

Sometimes more than one of us TIKer’s get taken by a certain pattern for its beauty, cleverness and downright handiness…. Introducing said pattern in this case: Zuzu’s Petals. It’s a clever cowl that looks like a shawl and it is such a quick, adjustable (with a bit of playing) enjoyable knit.

Maria knit her Zuzu in Malabrigo Rios in the highly variegated Arco Iris, Jacqui used self-striping Amitola by Louisa Harding. I decided to stray from the written pattern and use gorgeous heavy lace weight yarn, Mirasol Sulka Legato with added Swarovski crystals (you can see them shining in the first picture). I loved knitting this, and I love the finished object.

Have I tempted you? What would you knit yours from?

Weaving in ends is one of the final stages of a project, and despite our best efforts (splicing when adding a new ball, working seamlessly and so on), there’s always some to do.

The Garter Yoke Baby Cardi (a hugely popular and dotey free pattern on Ravelry) is a case in point. It’s a delight to work in sportweight yarn (this one’s in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino), made from the top down with the option of a neat i-cord edging. It’s quick and it’s easily customisable.

But there’s no denying it: that’s a lot of ends.

It’s a good idea to leave your ends long while you wash and block and snip them off only at the end. But then it’s easy to get confused about forget which ones you’ve woven in and which you haven’t, and you can easily end up peering crossly at your work trying to decide. So here’s a handy trick to speed things along: as you finish weaving in a strand, just tie a knot in it.

Then it’s easy to run your fingers down the length of any end and spot if you still need to deal with it. It’ll keep you a little further away from your wits’ end!

Spring is clearly on the way. The weather’s shown an upturn over the last few days, and we’ve got new Spring/Summer yarn and garments in the shop.

One of the loveliest this year is Louisa Harding’s brand new Noema. It’s a cotton/acrylic blend, and it’s got the prettiest long colour changes which work up into a dappled tweedy fabric.

The cardigan in the image above is called Azurine, and it’s one of the fourteen garment and accessory pattern in the Noema booklet. It’s such a Louisa Harding signature piece: pretty to wear and straightforward to knit. The largest size takes only six balls, so it’s quick as well as terribly versatile.

Today, we’re featuring a guest post from Ken McCamish, a very good friend of ours who lives in Jeffersonville, Southern Indiana. When he told us how his car reacted to his knitting, we wanted to share it with you, so over to Ken!

We call it The Passenger. It’s the name given to my cone of Donegal Tweed I purchased at This is Knit.

The whole thing started out as a simple overseas trip to Ireland with my nephew, Cody. Since I’d never been to Ireland, the first thing I wanted to do was log onto my favorite hotel-finding site and have another window open with knitmap.com in it. Doesn’t everyone use this method to find hotels? I settled on Brooks Hotel, which looked lovely on the website and which was a very short walk to a yarn store called This is Knit.

This is Knit turned out to be a wonderful shop. It’s one of those shops where a yarn enthusiast feels right at home even though he’s 6,000 or more kilometers from home. I dutifully picked up a nice collection of yarn and then I saw a display for Contemporary Irish Knits, by Carol Feller. As I was flipping through its pages, my nephew came up behind me and noticed the Straboy sweater.

“I want one of those! Make me one of those!”

Normally I’d have shrugged it off but as my nephew was starting to express an interest in knitting and since I’m willing to do anything to get another family member into the fold, I agreed to make one for him. Nadia told me that if I wished, the shop could order the yarn on a cone and ship it to my house in America for a little less than it would cost to buy the yarn in skeins. I could get two of the sweaters from one cone! Since I’d never bought yarn cones, I knew I had to do it that way!

The yarn arrived sooner than expected and since it was cheaper than estimated, Lisa gave me shop credit. (Credit in yarn is like good cheese. There’s no such thing as too much!) I packed up the project to take to work that first night after receiving my cone. I had the book, appropriate needles and sundries, and my cone of Donnegal Tweed in the passenger seat of the car. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway I heard a beeping noise. My car was complaining that my passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.

If I wasn’t already a Knitter with a capital “K” for using knitmap to decide what hotel to book in a new city, I think I earned it the night my car mistook my yarn for a passenger. My husband, Dani, dubbed that yarn cone The Passenger and it has kept that moniker ever since.

“Are you taking the Passenger to work?”
“No, I’m going to work on these socks tonight instead . . . .”

The Straboy was not nearly as hard as I’d expected once I’d gotten the mechanics straightened out in my head. However, now that I’ve finished the Straboy sweater, I feel a little lost without my friend. Maybe I’ll wind up a huge cake of yarn or two and see if they pass the seatbelt test. Let’s see if I can get away with my next project counting as a legal passenger for carpooling!

To mark the day, here’s a lovely little lace shawlette, recently knitted by Jacqui. It’s called Fragile Heart, and it’s designed by the wonderful Boo Knits.

It’s lovingly accented with Swarovski crystals – just enough beading to give sparkle to the lace and interest to the knitter.

The yarn is Malabrigo Baby Silkpaca, and Fragile Heart took just over a skein.

And given the day that’s in it, don’t forget about our Valentine’s Day prize draw – it runs until midnight on Monday week, and you’ll find all the details over at that link!

There’s something very satisfying about making a garment that fits its wearer comfortably and well, and this little jacket is a perfect example.

It’s Carol Feller’s Rossbeg and it’s got a massive age range of two to ten years. And since not all wee ones are the same shape, you can customise it very easily.

Knitted from the top down, starting with that pretty curved yoke shaped with short rows, you can make it as long as you want: just finish when you’re done! The same’s true of the sleeves: full length or three quarter length, it’s up to you (and the future wearer, of course).

Carol’s use of such simple and clever techniques is one of the hallmarks of her work, and there’s still a couple of places left for her workshops with us on Saturday February 15th. There’s one on sweater surgery, so you’ll be able to improve and fix a garment that hasn’t turned out as you’d like. There’s also one expressly on short rows. You can find out more about both and book a coveted place by clicking on the links. Carol’s workshops are always popular and fun, and we’ve very excited about these ones.

And for another particularly dotey example of Carol’s short row magic, a Ravi Junior cardigan was featured on our facebook page during the week. Modelled by one of our very favourite young people and knitted by Jen, you can see it here. Aww!

Sometimes you come across a pattern that makes you want to drop everything else and knit it now, because it’s a gorgeous combination of soothing repetition and engaging interest.

Well, this is how we feel about Quadrature for Korrigan, which is a baby blanket for a much-anticipated baby.

Jacqui used Studio Donegal, and the result has to be snuggled to be believed. A quick bath and a block, and it’s perfect for newborn fingers and toes.

The elegance of the pattern means that in finer yarn it would also make a pretty shawl, and in bulky it would be a terrific throw. Stocking stitch for most of the way, with the cables set off by the garter stitch border, means that it’s an easy and satisfying knit.

We can’t wait to see a new wee person wrapped up in it!

Cuddle

New babies like snugness and warmth, and Jen’s just made a wee project that steps right up to the mark. It’s a newborn sleepsack called Owlie.

Knitted in the softest wool, with ample room for little legs to wriggle and kick, there’s no fiddly buttons or ties to get in the way (or puzzle new parents).

Keeping watch all the way round, there’s a line of clever cable owls, with a practical purpose: the cabling pulls the sack in just enough for comfort. What a terrific colour too – Malabrigo Rios comes in a whole paintbox of happy bright hues, with plenty of gender-neutral options, and a single skein is enough for an Owlie.

It’s an unusual and practical gift for a new baby, and oh, how cozy it’ll be to cuddle up in!

Hot off Jacqui’s needles comes this divine little shawlette. It’s called Jackson Square, and it’s a Beth King design. It’s got it all – a lovely twisted rib body, a delicate lace border and a sweet picot cast off.

This example is made in Hedgehog Fibres Sock (the colourway is Petrol), and only takes a single skein.

Jackson Square starts with a garter stitch tab, and if you haven’t worked one before, you’ll find our photo tutorial at this link. The picot cast off is both decorative and practical – it gives the lace edge plenty of ease (and we have a tutorial for that too). But most of all, we love the clean etched quality of the twisted stitches.

A quick pretty knit in a luxurious yarn, with just the right amount of interesting technique? Yes please!

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