Wednesday, 19 October 2016

SPRITZER






Here is Spritzer, the second pattern in the Boos for Beginners Collection. This collection consists of a series of six patterns designed for those wishing to try lace or for those not overly confident using finer yarns, however each pattern will still be a very useful addition to any wardrobe - whether beginner or not!

Lace knitting is not scary; it is merely knitting with increases and decreases that create a pattern of holes in your fabric. Often lace is knit with a finer yarn but not tiny needles. This creates a light and airy fabric that, once blocked, looks intricate and pretty. It is so much easier than you think it will be! Though this is a collection aimed at those beginning lace knitting it is not a knitting course, tutorial or knitting encyclopedia.


Spritzer is more detailed than the first shawl of the collection and there will be some new stitches to learn but nothing challenging or scary.   By the end of this Collection you will be able to tackle any of the Boo Patterns without a moment’s hesitation!


















For knitters with more experience this pattern is simple but not boring. Perfect for holiday or television knitting and the ideal pattern to persuade a non-knitting friend that they really can do it!  Suitable for many, many different yarns; you could knit one for each day of the week!


You will also need: Stitch Markers (one that is different to mark the beginning of your rows), Needle (for weaving in ends), Blocking Pins and Mats, just under 500 Miyuki Size 5 Triangular Beads for the smallest size (I made mine in Solstice Yarns Changeling), just under 700 for the lace version (or if you repeat Chart Two five times), and a 1mm cro-tat hook to apply your beads (or dental floss, 0.6mm crochet hook, fleegle beader).

This pattern is charted and has full written instructions and is available, along with my other patterns, on Ravelry.


Friday, 7 October 2016

CHANGING COLOUR AT THE EDGES


Useful for when you want to carry the yarn rather than cutting and weaving in.  I would only use this for two or four rows not more than that.

Knit the first stitch with your new colour.   (below)



Look at the back of your work to see the two colours side by side.   (below)




Bring your previous coloured yarn over the working yarn at the back of your work.  (below)




Knit the next stitch with your new yarn and see how the first yarn is trapped behind the second stitch. (below)


Do this loosely so your edge not too tight.  








Friday, 9 September 2016

HOW DID I MANAGE TO ACCUMULATE SUCH A STASH?




We are all so easily seduced and quick to fall in love with new skeins of 'must have' yarn and neglect the yarns that have previously been the object of our lust and adoration.  I am no exception and I will confess that greed has got the better of me since I started knitting lace and discovered wonderful yarns.

I am definitely making a concerted effort to use some of the lovelies that are sitting patiently waiting to be used and turned into something that will be worn and loved.  Sometimes the most difficult decision is not what to knit but what to knit with and it can be so easy to be lured into the yarn store or, my biggest temptation, onto the internet to shop the wonderful array of online stores.
I am pretty certain that knitters are very much responsible for keeping the Germany Economy healthy.  I have no idea why but Germany have some of the best yarn dyers in the world.  I, obviously, speak from experience as I have bought more German yarn than any other.



The girls at Dye for Yarn/Dye for Wool, Nicole and Cordula are magicians with dye and their Tussah Silk Lace is my absolute favourite yarn to use for lace shawls.  The names of the yarns are as wonderful as the skeins of gorgeousness themselves - Doomed Voyage, Army of the Dead, Weird World . . .  I am working with some of their new Silk Cashmere Lace at the moment and it is a dream to knit with - so lovely and soft!  Though the Tussah was my first love (and true love lasts a lifetime) I am not totally monogamous yarn wise!   I love their Silk Merino Fingering and will admit to having 'one or two' skeins sitting in line waiting for attention.  Merino/Silk/Camel, Merino/Silk/Cashmere, Silk/Cashmere, Tussah Fingering . . . all hold special places in my heart and their DK Silk Merino is so lovely and I am looking forward to using it very soon to create a new cuddle of a shawl. 



Sabine is another dyer from Germany who creates the most amazing colours on her skeins of yarn with many of them being wonderful blends of romantic colours that flow seamlessly and create a dreamlike colour mix that works so well on lace knitting where many other variegated yarns would just hide the pattern.  I have just finished a shawl in Lichtfaden Rei - gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!





Walk Collection is Cathrin, another amazingly talented dyer who dyes on a wonderful range of bases.  The Delicate Silk is one of my favourites - a silk merino single at 600m/100g - beautiful and unusual.  You absolutely have to use the Luxe Light and Luxe Lace, Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere- such beautiful yarns!










Dibadu are another of my favourites.  They have a wonderful and extensive range of yarn bases in wonderful colours.  


With new colours being updated each week is it any wonder we accumulate a stash?  Temptation is there, on my monitor, and delivered in almost daily doses!


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

ONE DOOR CLOSES AND ANOTHER ONE OPENS

Completing a Collection is always a bittersweet time.  The end of a theme that is always enjoyable and can usually go on with inspiration flowing and new patterns forming in my mind but also it is the start of a new thread of thought and exploration; the start of a new Collection!

Fresh off my needles is Rum and Cola; the first pattern in my new Collection - Boos for Beginners.  I know, I just couldn't help myself or resist the play on names.  This will be a Collection of patterns that will be aimed at anyone who would love to knit lace shawls but is a little timid, unsure or scared witless!  There will be six shawls starting with something really simple with each pattern getting progressively more ambitious.  None of the shawls will be boring, none will be too simple for those with more experience but might be wonderful projects for watching television, travelling, holiday knitting or to buy for those non-shawl knitting friends who you know would just love it if they tried.

This simple lace shawl has a beaded body and a small lace border with a pretty picot bind off.  I know it will be one of my favourite shawls to wear - goes with everything and is one of those patterns that will look wonderful in a variegated skein.

The Boos for Beginners Collection will be available on Ravelry at the end of the July.

Sad but true.  This shawl was named Cuba Libre but I had to change the name due to it being considered a political statement rather than just the name of a pretty shawl or rather lovely drink.  Rum and Cola doesn't have the same ring but never mind - international crisis overted!

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

TIME AND AGAIN


Time and Again I have been asked to produce a triangular version of Sweet Dreams and so here it is in two versions.  The main pattern instructions are for a stocking stitch body with lace border and edge and there are detailed notes for an all over lace version.  Knit in fingering weight yarn this shawl is a lovely large hug of a shawl with a beaded body (beads here are optional) leading into the beaded lace border and edge.  In a lace weight yarn, the shawl becomes a wonderfully ethereal accessory that can work with anything from a ball gown to a pair of jeans.
The pattern is available from Boo Knits on Ravelry and is exclusive to The Memory Tree Collection.





REQUIREMENTS Yarn: Lichtfaden REI Tussah Silk Mohair 359m/100g – two skeins, WalkCollection Cozy Mohair 360m/100g – two skeins, DyeForYarn Fingering Tussah Silk 800m/200g – one skein, DyeForYarn Fingering Silk Linen 400m/100g – two skeins, John Arbon Textiles Alpaca Supreme 333m/100g – three skeins, Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light 384m/100g – two skeins, or any fingering weight or lace weight yarn.  Finished size: Using Lichtfaden REI Tussah Silk Mohair -  85” (216cm) wide along top edge, 33.5” (85cm) deep as written.  A larger version was made by working Chart B four times resulting in a shawl measuring 103” (262cm) wide along top edge, 38.5” (98cm) deep – this required three skeins of yarn and just under 900 beads.  Needles: 3.75 (US5) for binding off only, 4mm, (US 6) and 4.5mm (US7) or needles to give you a pleasing fabric with drape.  You might want to drop a needle size should you wish to knit the stocking stitch body in a lace weight yarn.  You will also need: Stitch Markers, Needle, Blocking Pins, a small crochet hook (0.75mm) or a 1mm cro-tat hook for applying beads and approximately 750 size 5 Miyuki Triangular Beads or 4mm Miyuki Cubes should you bead the entire shawl as written.  For the all over lace version, should you choose to bead the entire shawl, I would suggest size 6 Miyuki, Matsuno or Toho beads to reduce the weight and would suggest steering away from more fragile fibres due to the number of beads.   Bead Requirements for all over lace version -  Border Only – 270, Last Chart and Border - 390, Last Two Charts and Border - 520, All Over Beading - 960.   Gauge: is not critical and any yarn is suitable for this pattern though needle size and yardage requirements will vary. Using Lichtfaden Rei Tussah Silk Mohair, mine was 18sts to 4” before blocking and 14.5sts to 4” after slightly thuggish blocking.  Size Options:  One Size but easily adapted by working Chart B or Chart D fewer or more times.  Please note that this will result in an additional yardage and bead requirement.   
  

Saturday, 9 July 2016

BLOCKING A CRESCENT SHAPED SHAWL




Lay your shawl on your blocking mats in an even curve – see photograph to the right.  Pin the top edge into a gentle curve easing the edge so it is taut and with the ends of the shawl curving upwards and around.  Thread blocking wires through the chain dangles (or the centre stitch of your point) and pin the wires pulling strongly.  Make sure you leave plenty of space around your shawl as you will be removing your top edge pins as you stretch your shawl.  Once your shawl is pinned out, take out the pins from the top so you get a nice even line along the top edge and pull on your blocking wires again, repining. 


Don’t worry if your mats curl a little, weight them down and stretch to capacity - I block like a thug and get lovely long points with great definition!   Though you do need to make sure that your yarn will cope with such thuggery – some yarns are stronger than others.

Should your shawl pattern show this in the finished photographs you can pull down the little points between your long dangles and pin to a short point (see photograph to the left).   
This is wonderful if you are using silk or a yarn with a high silk content, however, if you are using cashmere or a more fragile yarn than specified, you will need to be much gentler with your blocking.   

Wait until your shawl is dry, unpin, wear and enjoy!

Thursday, 30 June 2016

WHAT'S ON THE NEEDLES?

Technically it is 'off the needles' as I have just finished the last shawl of the Memory Tree Collection, Time and Again.  It is being tested at the moment and will be the KAL shawl for August in the Boo Group on Ravelry.  Watch this space for more information and a sneak preview!

The new collection
Boos for Beginners has leapt onto the needles.  It will be a series of shawl patterns to take those wanting to start knitting lace from something nice and simple right through to all over lace and a final shawl that will fill each knitter with the confidence and knowhow to knit any of my patterns.  There will be the usual helpful hints, full written instructions, full and easy to read charts with all bead placements clearly shown in both versions of the instructions.

Each pattern will be named after a drink or cocktail with the instructions for making each one included in the pattern - maybe a little celebration for finishing each pattern!   I know,
Boos for Beginners - excuse the play on words but it just had to be done!

So, all in all, if you are wanting to try knitting a lace shawl and want to start with something simple working your way through projects to build your confidence check back here and I will be able to point you in the right direction.