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Changes for Chains and Stripes

This blog was originally written in April 2015 but I wanted to re-visit it as I have recently added these knitting kits to my website having not had them on there for a while, so here is the story of my Chain Stripe Cushion knitting kits…

 

Today I’ve been finishing off something I started back in September!
IMG_0177After our annual visit to Cawood Craft Festival I realised that my original version of one of my knitting kits could do with a bit of updating. I designed this cushion some time ago now and we talked about it on the blog back in the summer of 2013.

When I had the idea for the cushion we had just started selling West Yorkshire Spinners yarns and I really wanted to make something which would show off the natural colours of the wool from Jacob sheep which they produce. I had been playing with the chain stripe stitch when knitting samples for my City and Guilds course and I felt that it was an ideal choice. I designed this little cushion, which can be knitted in a number of variations using the 4 natural colours available Ecru, Light Grey, Mid-Grey and Brown.

I don’t like having to insert zips and I really like these cocoanut shell buttons so I used this simple construction for the cushion. One long piece is knitted, folded and side seams sewn up, finally attaching the beautiful buttons which are included in the kit. I am very happy with the way the cushion looks, I love the Jacob wool which is ideal for home wares and many people have bought the kits and given positive feedback.

Why did I feel the need to improve the pattern then? Sitting in a tent in a field in North Yorkshire, I realised that, if I was designing the cushion today I would have made the stripes match up all the way round the cushion, and they just didn’t. It bothered me so much that I just couldn’t forget about it and I took one of my sample cushions and actually unravelled the cushion, re-knitting it to my new specifications. I have now knitted 3 samples in all of the new cushion and I am happy to say that the stripes match up beautifully all the way round except for where the rib occurs for attaching the lovely buttons which I don’t mind.
IMG_0770I have replaced the old  patterns in the kits and will re-vamp the packaging when I make some more and I now feel very satisfied with my little cushions again.

The kits contain all the wool you need to knit a cushion, plus the pattern and 3 buttons. You can buy them  online.

As I explain on the website, this kit makes a great gift for a knitter friend and the pattern is easy to follow for those who have not knitted for a while, or who are just learning but interesting enough for those with more experience to appreciate it

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Popping Up All Over Again!!!

Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get to my blog and it’s looking a bit neglected.

I thought I’d tell you about Judith and Jeans Pop-Up-Shop.

We had lots of stock which didn’t sell in our closing down sale when we left Tadcaster and it was all being kept at Mum’s house until she decided what to do with it.

Mum and Dad need to move house now so the time had very much arrived for all that lovely wool to be found new homes.

We had our one day only EVERYTHING MUST GO pop-up-shop at York School of Sewing in January when Nadine very kindly let us join in her monthly shop Saturday. It was a very lovely day with quite a crowd of people coming through the doors when we opened at 10am. It was very nice to see people from our days in Tadcaster and there were also plenty of Nadines’ customers popping along to get supplies for sewing and a bit of yarn at the same time. There were plenty of bargains to be had as we’d taken as much along as we possibly could of the beautiful yarns that we needed to say goodbye to.

We were kept occupied all day long and were very happy to have cars much emptier on leaving than they were when we arrived.

Mum held another little sale of her own at our local Methodist Church and managed to supply lots more people with something to add to their stash. I’m happy to say that, with the help of Ebay all that enormous pile of yarn is now re-homed.

HOWEVER, Judith and Jeans one day only EVERYTHING MUST GO Pop-Up-Shop is to return!!

We still have stacks of stuff and it is not going in that removal van with my parents 🙂

So, on Saturday 3rd March we will be re-popping at Yorks School of Sewing and once more EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!

Take a look at some of the goodies on offer

That’s just a selection. I have much more including cross stitch kits, knitting needles and much much more!

As usual you can also stock up on Nadines lovely Fabrics, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Charm Packs and Fat Quarters.

It’s not just all about fabric – there’s lots of Equipment and other Sewing ‘Must Haves’ too

Special offers and plenty of bargains.

Come along and have a browse, we’d love to see you.

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Intarsia Knitting

Intarsia is a technique used in knitting to create patterns with multiple colours. It is possible to introduce areas of colour in any shape, size, and number.

The Intarsia technique is often used for sweaters with large, solid-colour features or ‘picture jumpers’ with designs such as fruits, flowers, geometric shapes or Christmas motifs like snowmen and robins.

Here is a new cushion I have designed (pattern available to buy) using the Intarsia technique to create these cute sausage dogs. There will be a workshop available in the New Year where you can learn how to make one if you’re not confident to do it alone!

Unlike other multicolour techniques (including Fair Isle, slip-stitch colour, and double knitting), Intarsia fabric is lightweight because it is only one strand thick, and yarn is not carried across the back of the work.

Not unlike a paint-by-numbers canvas, you place the coloured stitches in an intarsia design by following a chart row by row. It is much more difficult to follow a pattern written out line by line than to use a chart for this technique.

The most popular stitch for Intarsia knitting is stocking stitch but it is possible to use other stitches or combinations of stitches with often very attractive results.

Here reverse stocking stitch has been used combined with Trinity stitch.

 

This ‘M’ was an experiment which didn’t quite work out. A combination of Trinity stitch and stocking stitch for the ‘M’ shape may work out better.

 

When working in intarsia, it is easiest to use untreated yarns. Cotton, silk, and synthetic fibres are much more challenging to use because they are slippery.

Changing colours – When changing colours, you drop one strand of yarn and leave it hanging for use in the following row. Following the chart, work all the stitches you need in the first colour. Drop the old strand and forget about it until you need it again in the next row. Twist the new strand around the old one. Work with the new colour according to the chart. To change strands, bring the new colour up from underneath the old one. This twists the strands together, preventing holes from forming on the front of the work.

Knitting in intarsia theoretically requires no additional skills beyond being generally comfortable with the basic knit and purl stitches. It is important that your tension is even as it is easy to pull the yarn more tightly where the colours change and create uneven tension which does not look attractive.

Each area of colour in your design requires its own individual yarn supply, resulting in many strands hanging from your work. One way of keeping control of all these yarn ends is by winding a few yards of each colour onto its own bobbin.

Weave in the ends –Your intarsia fabric won’t be finished until all the ends are woven in on the wrong side, using a wool needle. If this is not done well it can spoilt the finished look of your work so take time to do it well. Because there will be so many ends to weave in, the very best thing to do is  weave them in every now and then as you work , rather than leaving them all to be sewn in after your knitting is finished.

Take time to play – If you are not familiar with this knitting technique it is worth taking some time to play with some odd bits of yarn and practice knitting from the chart you are about to use. Allow about 6 stitches either side of the motif and knit at least one sample. This will help you to choose what type of yarn to use. If you’re not sure try it in different yarns to make a comparison as the results can be surprisingly different in different fibres. Use simple geometric shapes to begin with, from squares and rectangles to diamonds and triangles. As your confidence develops, move on to more complex shapes and combinations of shapes. This is also a brilliant opportunity to incorporate small amounts of different textures and types of yarns into your knitting. Some exciting effects could be achieved by using multicolour yarns with the Intarsia technique, adding yet another dimension to your work.

 

 

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Let’s Talk About Fair Isle Knitting

I am really looking forward to the first of my new knitting workshops which will be at York School of Sewing on Friday 17th November.

The workshop will be an Introduction to Fair Isle knitting. You will receive a knitting kit to take away and complete your own version of my Petal Cushion Cover which is available in several colours, including those shown here.

If you’re keen to start creating beautiful designs using one or more colours, but have never tried, then this workshop could be for you.

You will need to be able to do both knit and purl stitch with confidence, if so, you really can progress onto Fair Isle knitting.

If you’re at all apprehensive about the thought of using more than one colour at once, then remember that traditional Fair Isle knitting uses lots of colours but never more than 2 per row!

The workshop begins with getting to grips with the techniques needed to get started with 2-colour (more if you like) knitting.

Contemporary knitting involves using any colour and knitting with frequent colour changes. This might sound a bit daunting, but once you know what you’re doing you can create some very impressive results and expand your enjoyment of your knitting hobby.

This type of knitting is also known as Jacquard, stranded or two-colour knitting. The knitting is usually done in stocking stitch but it is ok to experiment with other stitches if you wish!

I have been a bit silly in the past and seem to have either lost, given away or donated to charity most of my pieces of Fair Isle but this is something I knitted 30 years ago when I was 19.

I can remember seeing this in a magazine and loving it. I bought the wool stated on the pattern, for probably the first time in my life, and I think I even used the same colours which is something I rarely do. I like to come up with my own colour combinations because I really really want my hand-knits to be unique and individual.

In the workshop we learn about and practice, stranding and weaving the yarns at the back of the work, (as can be seen above) how to follow a chart, then we look at choosing yarns & colours for your fair isle knitting.

Here you can see I have been experimenting with doing some simple Fair Isle, choosing my colours from some inspiration and trying them in different sequences.

As I’ve done, its’ a good idea to use inspiration to help choose colours which might go together. Tear pages from magazines, collect fabric swatches or use your own personal photographs.

One thing to remember with this type of knitting is that you will use more yarn than when just knitting using one colour and your work will be alot thicker and warmer.

For Fair Isle wool works better than other more slippery fibres such as cotton. It is worth spending some time experimenting with different yarns to see how they knit up. If you are using a yarn which is more suited to this kind of work then you are more likely to be happier with the results. It’s so easy to be disappointed and to think that your work is no good when all you may need to do is change the yarn!

For this kind of knitting it is much easier to work from charts than from words so if you’ve never knitted from a chart now is the time to get your head around them. Once you do then that’ll be another knitting hurdle you’ve passed and as with most things you’ll probably find it’s alot more straightforward than you thought.

Once we’ve practiced the techniques you’ll be able to make a start on your cushion before taking it home to complete.

I love spending time helping people to make new steps with their knitting. It’s so rewarding when someone moves on from having never tried a technique, or they’ve tried on their own but not been able to conquer it, and you can see them filled with pride and enthusiasm over their new-found skill. Contact myself or York School of Sewing if you need to know more 🙂

 

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The Knotty Knitters Meet the Alpacas

Our knitting circle had a brilliant day out on Saturday.

It was part of my quest to have 50 special treats before my 50th birthday in October!! I wrote about this previously here.

When trying to decide what a group of friends who like to get together to knit and enjoy a cuppa might like to do for a fun day out I tried to think of something yarn related. What I came up with was Alpaca Trekking.

I love it.

I’ve done it before, as a fun activity to do with family & friends when my children were younger, and once, when I was Brown Owl for the local Brownie pack a few years ago we had a very pleasant evening stroll with the girls.

I always go to Treeside Alpacas who are absolutely brilliant. The owners are a lovely knowledgeable couple who really make it into a special experience. We saw them when we had our day out to Leeds Wool Festival where they were doing mini treks.

It was a rather windy on Saturday afternoon but we were very lucky and it didn’t rain on us!

First we spent a little time chatting and getting used to the 7 gorgeous fluffy boys. Then we all chose an Alpaca to walk with and set off on our trek. The Alpacas don’t rush, and the route around the farm is not too strenuous, so there was plenty of time to chat to Rosanne and Nigel about their characterful creatures and enjoy spending the time together. The walk back was a bit quicker as the boys knew they were going to get fed at the end.

I took a great many photographs but I’ve tried to pick out the best ones here.

 

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Shells and Gems

Back in May I wrote about my Shell scarf pattern which I had added to the shop.

I mentioned that I had bought this beautiful yarn at Spring Into Wool and I was planning to make another one.

I actually finished it a few weeks ago but it has been waiting to be blocked.

The yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Wensleydale Gems and I absolutely love the colours it’s available in.

I was desperate to see what it would look like knitted into this scarf but I was a little concerned that it might be a hard or prickly yarn so different to the gorgeous soft Sublime Alpaca that the original is done in.

Not so, however. The yarn is so soft and fluffy – not as soft as the Alpaca – and it drapes beautifully.

I blocked it at the weekend and the sun was out so I grabbed some quick photos.

It’s so great to see my design in a different yarn and colours.

As you can see I also bought another yarn from Home Farm Wensleydales which is destined to become a Shell Scarf too!!

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Quick and Easy Scarf

A couple of weeks ago we had a little sight seeing trip to London for the weekend.

Obviously I needed a bit of knitting to take with me for the journey, and I had nothing appropriate on any needles, so a new project was called for.

Having found a very charming skein of sock yarn in my stash (Ripples Crafts Hand Dyed Sock Yarn), I cast on for a scarf and was jolly happy with myself!!

There was plenty of knitting time on the train and a tiny amount of knitting time during our stay.

On returning home I decided that the scarf was not going to be long enough with just this one skein of yarn.

I was very happy to find some yellow West Yorkshire Spinners 4ply which went really well with the one I was using and merrily continued with my new scarf. Now it is finished and I am very pleased with it.

This is such an easy stitch to do, creating something which looks very impressive, especially when combined with a yarn such as this from Ripples Crafts. It would make a nice winter scarf if done on larger needles using something chunky!!

I’ve written out the pattern and you can download it for free here.

 

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Something a little different…

A few months ago my son asked me if I would be able to knit a Leeds United cushion for his girlfriend to give to her Dad.

I said I’d give it a go but it would have to go to the back of the queue!!

On a recent trip to a lovely yarn shop called Knitting Pretty in Knaresborough I bought the perfect coloured yarn for the project, King Cole merino blend dk.

A couple of weeks ago I felt the time was right so I did some drawings for the family to chose from.

Once they’d let me know which design they liked the best I was off and running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knit most of my cushions in one piece to reduce the number of seams needed.

Here it is being blocked…almost ready for sewing together. Just the small matter of embroidering on the LUFC and crocheting a white Yorkshire Rose to finish it off.

This is quite different from the kind of thing I would normally knit and I am pleased with the finished result, I think that I managed to fulfil the brief!!

I’m told that Olivia’s Dad was very happy with it too.

 

 

 

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Knit a Shell

I first introduced my Shell Scarf on the blog last August and now, finally, I’ve published the pattern for anyone to buy online!!

I was waiting for the scarf and pattern to be assessed by my City and Guilds Tutor, and then I decided to make an alternative version, which would be easier to knit, so it has taken some time to get it organised!!

As mentioned in the previous blog, the yarn I’ve used is the most gorgeous , Sublime Alpaca DK which is a gorgeously soft yarn, and the colour choices were influenced by my inspiration. The yarn also comes in a wider range of delicious colours.

The inspiration, by the way, came from the little shell which I found on a walk form Warkworth towards Amble in Northumberland earlier last year.

The original scarf, Scarf One, is triangular shaped and lighter weight for the Spring and Autumn, whereas the new design, or Scarf Two, is bigger and warmer to snuggle up in the Winter months.

Both are knitted in a drop stitch rib, which I chose because it is not only very effective but, the fabric produced looks like the pattern of ridges on the shell which was my inspiration. I also really really like the excitement of dropping stitches on purpose (I’m sad like that!!).

I hope the following images show how the two scarves differ.

 

If you’re a less confident knitter, then you could try scarf two as it has limited shaping so is not so daunting.

I bought some exciting yarn when I visited Spring Into Wool in Leeds recently so I’ll be posting photos of the scarf knitted in different colours and fibres over the coming months.

 

If you buy the pattern, I would love to hear which scarf you choose to create and what yarn you have used.

If you send me photos I’ll be delighted!!

 

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Fern Scarf

I am working at increasing the number of knitting patterns available to buy from my website at the moment.

The latest addition is called Fern Scarf – named after the Fern Lace stitch pattern that I have used.

Last week we had some gorgeous spring sunshine so I ventured out into the garden to take some photos of the scarf in the beautiful natural light. 

There are 2 different sized scarves that you can choose from and you will need 200g (448m ) DK.

The scarf can be made in 2 different widths, the finished size is approximately 230cm x 15cm (168cm x 24cm)

You will also need a pair of 4mm needles.

I have used West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester prints DK. I really really like this yarn (see my Petal cushion using the same Owl colour-way). First of all it is bluefaced leicester which I love because it is warm and soft and silky. Secondly, the colours which they have chosen on the theme of Country Birds. When you look at the ball of yarn it is amazing to see how the knitted fabric turns out. The scarf shown is in the Owl colour-way and I have done a little swatch here in the Blue Tit colour.

This stitch is very pretty and works so well with the print yarns but I think a plain colour would also be very attractive. If you’re nervous about tackling anything beyond stocking or garter stitch, this could be an ideal project for you to try. The pattern repeat is worked over only 4 rows with the wrong side rows being purl only (except the g st edging), so there are only 2, easy to memorise, pattern rows to tackle. It truly is much easier than it looks and I’d encourage you to try it.

There is a garter st edging at either end and along each side to prevent that curling up effect which is typical of certain stitches.

I like this Blue Tit swatch so much that I’ve cast on the wider version of the scarf.

I hope you might be inspired to cast on one for yourself.