Hats All

I recently realised that I tend to design in phases. I only realised this as I’m entering my third phase – two phases wasn’t enough for the penny to drop really, but three makes it definite.

When I first started designing knitting patterns, I was obsessed with designing fingerless mitts (or wrist warmers, muffatees, whatever you like to call them). I think I enjoyed these as I love to wear them and also there is the challenge of making something small but stylish that is also practical and there are so many different ways with cuffs, thumbs, gussets etc.

Lossie Mitts – my favourite fingerless mitt design

Then I discovered the joy of designing cowls (snoods, infinity scarves…) and I loved these as I could play around with stitch patterns without worrying about increasing/decreasing or thumbholes etc. This is the phase where I think I started to find my particular design style.

 

The Lightning Hills cowl

Now I have moved on to hats. And the move was pretty much by accident – I had an idea for a pair of fingerless mitts (because sometimes I move back and forward between phases…) with a particular stitch pattern. I submitted the idea to a publication but it was unsuccessful. Then a friend got in touch asking if I could knit her a hat, with a picture of a slouchy beanie as an example of the kind of thing she wanted. I realised that the stitch pattern I had in mind would be perfect for a hat like this and a new knitting phase was born!

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Bookshelf Beanie

 

Although not deliberate, I feel like this is a progressive learning experience for me. I’m picking up new methods and gaining experience with every different phase.

 

Presumably the last phase is jumpers (although my very first design was a child’s jumper – exception to the rule!) but I’m wondering what will be next? I am still enjoying designing hats for now though and have just finished my second design, which I hope to have test knitted soon.

 

Does anyone else find they go through design phases like this? I would love to find out about it!

 

Happy knitting everyone!

 

the knitting moon x

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25th Pattern Ahoy!

I’ve just released my 25th knitting pattern on Ravelry. For some reason this seems like a massive milestone to me. It may be because I’ve read about designers having great upturns in customers at 25, 50 and 100 patterns… but I don’t think this pattern is going to do that for me as it’s not a hugely popular category. I think it just feels like a good number of patterns to have. A quarter of a century of knitting patterns… It may also be because I’m so slow at finishing and releasing patterns, every round(ish) number feels like an accomplishment.

 

Anyway, to the pattern!

It’s a wee bag, I designed it for taking with me when I walk my dog…

Roary the dog

 

But it would work as a project bag or even for festivals (which was the original purpose of the bag I was replacing!)

 

It’s called the Highweek Bag after my favourite local dog-walking area.

 

Highweek Bag

I have been using it often since finishing it and it’s surprisingly sturdy (I wasn’t sure how well the pockets or drawstrings would hold out with heavy stuff in but they have been key, heavy purse and full juice bottle carrying heroes!)

 

As this is my 25th pattern, I decided to have a 25% off sale of all my patterns on Ravelry which goes on until the 25th of August. If you’re not keen on the bag, why not have a look a some of my other patterns while the sale is on…

Now, I’m already working on numbers 26 to 30…

 

For all you dog lovers, here’s one last doggy pic!

 

“What’s happening over this wall and why aren’t I invited?”

 

Yes, I know it’s summer, but I have been knitting a scarf…

…I did start it in the winter though. So if you fancy trying to knit this scarf and you’re anything like me, you might want to start it now!

 

I have been a bit obsessed with reverse stocking stitch stripes recently, ever since I was almost finished this scarf (with the ‘right’ side out) and decided it looked better with the ‘wrong’ side out. Now I’m pretty much knitting everything in reverse stocking stitch stripes. Don’t worry, it will pass once I’ve found a new obsession, much like my obsession with welts (though I still love a welt).

 

Pictures!

 

 

Pattern!

 

You will need: 3 X 50g in white, 2 X 50g in blue and 1 X 50g in orange. Or any other colour combo you like. I used DMC Woolly in shades 01 (white) and 102 (orange) and Sublime Extra Fine Merino in shade 363 (indigo) for the blue. These are all DK weight, you can use any yarn you choose although different weights will result in a different size scarf of course. Mine is 240cm long (excluding fringe) and 16cm wide.

You will also need a 4.5mm (US 7) circular needle (or whatever size suits your yarn weight) and knowledge of magic loop as this scarf is knitted in the round. See my tutorial here if you are not sure how to do magic loop. You will also need a smallish crochet hook for the fringes.

Note: As the whole thing is reverse stocking stitch you can just knit it the usual way (knitting every round), with the ‘knit’ stitches facing outwards and the ‘purl’ stitches on the inside, then turn it inside out at the end. For this pattern, I’ve called the ‘knit’ stitches the ‘wrong’ side and the ‘purl’ stitches the ‘right’ side. Just make sure you leave your yarn ends on the outside or ‘wrong’ side as you go.

Cast on 72 sts in your blue yarn.

Join in the round.

(Knit every round.)

Knit one round in blue.

Switch to white, knit one round.

Continue working the last two rounds until the blue yarn runs out.

After the next white round, switch to orange.

Continue in the same manner until you have a few yards of orange and white left (enough for a fringe).

Cast off.

Secure your ends, making sure they are all on the ‘wrong’ stocking stitch side – you don’t need to worry too much about weaving them in as they will be on the inside of the tube. Then turn your tube ‘right’ side out.

Make an orange and a white fringe. I like to use a greeting card – wrap the yarn around the card right along it’s length, cut the yarn at the opening side of the card, you then have even lengths for fringe making.

Close the ends of the tube with your fringes, orange on the blue end and white on the orange end (or you could do blue on the orange end if you prefer and have some left). Using a crochet hook, poke it through both sides of the tube between the first and second round. Grab the loops of two bits of yarn folded in the middle. Pull the loops through and then pull the ends of the yarn through the loop and tighten. Make one fringe loop every other stitch or it will stretch out your scarf end.

You are finished and can now flounce around in your scarf. Then take it off, block it like a proper knitter and flounce around again.

Ta da!

 

Testing, testing

I’ve recently decided to try to be more of an all round, professional, efficient designer. So far I’ve begun streamlining my Etsy and Folksy shops (concentrating on uploading patterns rather than selling items to order) and trying to pay more attention to the social media side – I’ve been using  Instagram a lot more (it’s become my favourite social site…) and I’ve gotten round to creating a dedicated knitting facebook page at last.

The biggest change I’ve made though, is in having my designs test knitted through Ravelry. I’ve always either test knitted them myself or asked someone I know to do it offline. But I still always had those nagging doubts when I’d send the pattern out there… Is it good enough? Have I missed something? Will someone come back to me and complain? Having strangers test knit has definitely helped with this. I feel much more confident about releasing a pattern that has been thoroughly gone over by others!

This is my latest pattern which has been test knitted:

You can find the pattern on Ravelry or in my Etsy shop.

I’m having another design test knitted as I write. I thoroughly recommend the test knitting process to any new designers. I tried using the Free Pattern Testers thread on Ravelry for the cowl shown above. This is a heavily moderated thread which has quite strict guidelines on what and how you and your testers post. Great for a first try if you’re not sure exactly how to go about it. I am now trying out The Testing Pool which is much more relaxed – it’s basically up to you to set out your expectations and conduct your test as you see fit.

So, what’s the next step for the all-new professional Knitting Moon??? Well, right now, I have 22 patterns in my Ravelry store – I’m aiming for the magical 25 pattern milestone and trying to make myself release a pattern every month…Not sure if I’ll be able to keep that one up but I’m going to give it a try.

Anyone else have test knit tips or stories? I’d like to hear them.

Recently

Just a few random things I’ve been up to recently…

 

We went to Scotland for Christmas – the long way! But it was worth it to see views like this on the way…

 

 

 

Rainbow over Loch Linnhe
Rainbow over Loch Linnhe

 

We had a lovely time with friends and family…the Wee Man went ice skating for the first time on his birthday…

 

Getting the hand of it
Getting the hang of it

 

…and we enjoying a few good dog walks in Lossiemouth…

 

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I tried air-drying clay presents for a few friends and Dylan’s teachers this year…

 

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I knit the Big Man his first pair of socks by me…

 

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(Sock pattern here)

 

I knit something for myself using Noro for the first time…

 

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(It ended up as a long infinity scarf with the addition of some solid coloured merino wool)

 

And finally…I’ve begun a new design…

 

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Which I will probably go into more detail about once it’s finished!

 

Happy 2017 to you all!

Cosiest comfiest mitts

I’m eventually getting round to adding a free mitt pattern to go with this cowl. (The main problem was getting decent photos so forgive the ones I’ve managed to get!)

I also knit a pair for the Wee Man as he hates wearing gloves with fingers (he can never get his fingers into the right bit) but he can put these on easily and he loves them.

NB: these mitts are designed to be roomy and slouchy, this size fits my medium (7.5″ round the knuckles) hand with a bit of room but they don’t fall off. If you have smaller hands you may want to reduce the stitch count a bit.

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Cowl and mitt together
Cosy comfy mitt
Cosy comfy mitt
Other colours
Other colours
Wee man size
Wee man size

Here’s how to do it:

Materials

You’ll need 2 X 50g balls (one of each colour) of Sublime Extra Fine Merino DK or any DK yarn to get tension/gauge of 13sts and 29 rows to 10cm.

6mm (US 10) circular needle (if using magic loop method) or dpns.

Tapestry needle for weaving in ends.

Pattern

(Child size in brackets – should fit children from around 5 to 10 years old)

Holding both colours of yarn together, cast on 36 (25) sts.

Join in the round.

Knit in garter st (knit one rnd, purl one rnd) for 40 (20) rnds.

Next rnd: K 27 (16) sts, cast/bind off 4 (3) sts, K to end of rnd.

Next rnd: P 27 (16) sts, cast on 4 (3) sts, P to end of rnd.

Work 6 more rnds (both sizes).

Cast/bind off. Sew in ends.

Enjoy!