New Pattern: Leaf Anatomy

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It’s a cold and damp day so here’s a bright rainbow shawl to brighten things up.

This is my latest pattern Leaf Anatomy, knit in 4ply / fingering weight yarn it uses from 500 – 1200 yards of yarn. My sample was knit in Knitting Goddess 4ply Britsock in the printer ink colourwheel shades, I used 600yds of yarn and the finished shawl is a large 53″ wide x 33″ deep.

Leaf Anatomy is available to purchase now, and if you use the coupon code ‘leaf’ you can get an introductory 25% discount. As always if you decide to knit this pattern I would love to see a picture.

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Little Knitting

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The sun has finally arrived and it is getting warmer here, and for some reason as soon as it gets to late spring / early summer all my knitting ideas seem to be baby related. I have no idea why this is but baby items are pretty good summer knitting projects as they are usually quite small so you don’t end up with a pile of knitting on your lap boiling your knees!

I’m quite lucky in that I do have recipients for any baby knitting, my nephew and niece are 9 months old, and I’m hoping that if I do come up with any new designs they’ll be willing models. At the moment all my new ideas seem to be for little dresses, as you can possibly see from the pic I took of my current sketchpad, I need to have a think about some more boy appropriate items too.

If you too are thinking about knitting baby clothes I do already have a few patterns, including Tigs which you can see below, or you can view all of my patterns here. Oh and there will be a couple of baby additions to my pattern catalogue in the next few weeks, I just need to get some photos take.

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New knitting pattern: Hathi Sweater

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Time to start the week with a new pattern, Hathi is the Hindi word for elephant; this sweater boasts an entire herd of hathi striding majestically around the yoke.

Hathi is knit from the bottom up in the round, the body and sleeves of the sweater are knit first then all three are joined together before the elephant yoke is knit.

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Hathi is knit in worsted weight yarn, so it works up really quickly, I knit my sample in Rowan Pure Wool Worsted in shades raspberry and charcoal. It is designed to be loose fitting and is sized from XS to 3XL.

You can find the pattern here on Ravelry and from now until the end of 21st of April you can get an automatic 25% discount on this and all of my self published patterns.

Fracture Shawls

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So now that my Fracture mystery knit-a-long is finished I can post some pictures, the one above is my sample, but below are some finished shawls from knitters that joined in. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most is seeing all of the great finished projects and how the shawl looks in different yarns and colours.

How lovely is this white version, would make a great shawl for a bride.

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Pink and hearts are a perfect combination

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The next two are by the same person, I’m in awe, they both look amazing.

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I’ve enjoyed the MKAL so much that I will definitely do it again, possibly towards the end of the year.

 

New Patterns

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I love designing patterns for yarn companies and magazines, it is a great way to try out new yarns and because you have to work so far in advance of the pattern release when they do become available its a nice little surprise reminder of something I knit a few months ago.

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So here are my latest two patterns, both are available via the Willow Yarns website. Firstly the Astray Pillow which is knit in Willow Burrow Worsted, and secondly is the Magritte dress which is knit in Willow Daily DK and is sized from 3 months up to 6 years.

The only problem with designing patterns for third parties is that I have to send them the samples, I have a little niece who would look great in that dress, although admittedly she is only 8 months old so I probably should knit her one that would fit!

A beginners guide to knitting charts

I know that some knitters don’t like working from charts, but I want to show you that they are not so terrible and once you master following a chart you may even prefer them.

How to read a chart:

Lets start with the basics, all right side rows are read from right to left and all wrong side rows are read from left to right. If you are working in the round then all rounds are read from right to left.

Quite often on a lace pattern only the right side rows are shown and the pattern will explain what you need to do on the wrong side rows (this is often the case if WS rows are all purl).

But if the pattern doesn’t fully explain what the chart shows you should be able to tell from where the row numbers are placed on the chart.

So for example this chart has right side rows only, you can tell because the chart only has odd numbers on the right side:

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Whereas this chart shows both right side and wrong side rows, you can tell because the chart has numbers on both sides.

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A good chart should guide you to which direction you need to follow the chart, always start with the stitch next to the row number.

Chart symbols:

Not all charts will use the same symbols so it is very important to refer to the key. A good chart should be a visual representation of the pattern, so right leaning decreases (K2tog) should have a symbol that leans to the right and left leaning decreases (SSK) should have a symbol that leans to the left. The same goes for yarnovers which are often represented by an O which looks like a hole. Those empty squares are usually knit on the WS but do check.

A key for one of my charts would look something like this:

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Before you start to follow the chart:

Before knitting from a chart always, always, read the accompanying instructions which should tell you whether the chart needs to worked once, twice or more, or if the edging stitches are included on the chart.

So for example the charts below are for a triangular shawl and the chart needs to be worked twice ever row, also the 3 edging stitches are not included in the chart. This is explained in the pattern like this:

All RS rows: K3, SM, work row of chart to M, SM, K1, SM, work row of chart to M, SM, K3
All WS rows: K3, P to last 3 sts, K3

M is marker and SM is slip marker, the K1 in between the markers in the middle of the instructions is the central spine stitch.

Start knitting:

This is the chart that we will be looking at whilst keeping in mind the row instructions above:

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Firstly we know what to do for all WS rows from the instructions so only need to concentrate on RS rows, so remembering the written instructions and reading the first row from right to left row one will be:

Row 1: K3, SM, YO, K3, YO, SM, K1, SM, YO, K3, YO, SM, K3

The instructions taken from the chart are in bold. That was a simple row, so lets look at row 11 as well:

Row 11: K3, SM, YO, K3, YO, SSK, YO, S2KP, YO, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, SM, K1, SM, YO, K3, YO, SSK, YO, S2KP, YO, K2tog, YO, K3, YO, SM, K3

Remember that the chart is worked exactly the same on that row, knit from right to left the first time and exactly the same way the second time.

Repeated sections:

Once you get past the first few rows some charts will then have a section within them that needs to be repeated. The repeat section of the chart is quite often denoted by a thicker or coloured line around it, sometimes by a different method (check the key!) I use a thick red line around repeat sections like this:

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If you are used to following written instructions then the repeated section of a chart is the same as following instructions from a *. So for example row 1 of this chart would be:

Row 1: K3, SM, YO, K2tog, YO, *K1, YO, SSK, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, rep from * to last 3sts, K1, YO, K2tog, YO, SM, K1, SM, YO, K2tog, YO, *K1, YO, SSK, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, rep from * to last 3sts, K1, YO, K2tog, YO, SM, K3

Again the instructions taken from the chart are in bold and the chart is worked exactly the same before and after the central stitch.

If you struggle at first with repeated sections count how many stitches are after the repeat and make a note of these on the chart. So on the above chart you repeat the red section until the last 3sts on row 1, the last 4sts on row 3, the last 5sts on row 5 and so on.

‘No stitches’:

Because charts are a visual representation of the knitting you will sometimes encounter ‘no stitch’ on a chart, as a symbol this is often represented by a coloured square. A ‘no stitch’ is basically exactly that, there is no stitch there and you can ignore that little box. Designers use the no stitch to keep the chart pattern straight.

The chart below includes ‘no stitch’ boxes which are represented by the solid blue squares.

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So remembering that those blue boxes can be ignored row 1 will read as follows:

Row 1: YO, K1, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K1, YO

Remember that although you don’t need to worry about the blue ‘no stitches’ don’t miss any stitches in between the them, so on row 1 don’t forget about that K1 in between those no stitches.

Best practises:

Keeping track of where you are on a chart is important, if you read you knitting pattern on an ipad or similar it’s a great idea to highlight the row you are currently working on. If like me you prefer a printed pattern then use a ruler/ magnetic strip/ sticky note to ‘above line’ the row. Marking above the row you are working on as opposed to below will help you to visualise the pattern better as you can see the previous rows you have just worked. I use a chart keeper from knit picks.

Finally:

Don’t be afraid of charts, start with something simple and practise, I promise that it will get easier and using charts, especially for lace knitting, is an excellent way of learning to ‘read’ your knitting, which is very useful when trying to spot a mistake.

I hope that this has been useful, if you have any questions please do ask in the comments. In the coming months I’ll be adding more tutorials including one on reading cable charts.