Saturday, 8 December 2012

Giveaway Winner!

Our winner has been chosen. By the hands of the fine robots at, the winner is...

Number 12, Carla!

Carla will receive three skeins of Manos del Uruguay Serena and a copy of Hele, or a shawl pattern of her choice.

Thank you to everyone for entering!

Friday, 30 November 2012

Manos Serena Giveaway!

To make up for my long silence spent at the bottom of the Well of Spreadsheets (I tech edit everything), I'm giving some stuff away. Well, some yarn, actually. And a pattern!

What we're giving away:

Artesano is very kindly offering three 50g skeins of the lovely, silky Manos del Uruguay Serena in a colour or the winner's choosing.

Three skeins of Manos Serena also just happens to be enough to make...

Hele! My lovely lace shawl with nupps (or beads, if you'd prefer) and a feathered edging. The pattern will also go free to the winner (or, if the winner already has it, another of my shawl patterns of their choice).

All you have to do is comment on this post by 23:59 GMT, Friday 7th December and tell me your favourite fibre for Autumn (I know - it may feel like Winter, but that doesn't start for another three weeks!). On December 8th, one lucky winner will be chosen and notified by e-mail, so please be sure to include it in the e-mail field when commenting, or by PM on Ravelry, if preferred.

Only one entry per person, please, and feel free to comment no matter where you live!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Elsie Schematic

There are a lot of sizes available for my new cardigan pattern, Elsie. Enough sizes where it gets a bit difficult to explain them in just a sentence on the Ravelry pattern page. And I'm a firm believer that you should be able to see the schematic before you buy, so click here to be taken to a two-page PDF with full schematic information.

September is now available!

With just enough time to be appropriately named, my new mini-collection, put together in partnership with Artesano Yarns, is now available! Get it on Ravelry for £6.50*.




 *Already purchased one of the patterns but want to buy the collection? Don't worry! If you bought Hele or Aada before release, the purchase price of the pattern you already bought will be automatically deducted at check out.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Early Autumn Pattern Preview

Here are a few teasers of the collection I have coming out next month…enjoy!

(Hint: there may be a giveaway, as well. Stay tuned!)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Summer weather, Winter knitting

After three months of miserable, constant rain, the sun has finally reached Britain. My garden is flourishing, people are walking around without clothes on, and our complaints turn to another subject besides the rain: how bloody hot it is.

This is also the time of year that I usually (erm, and belatedly) start speed-knitting my samples for Winter in warm, cozy, swelteringly thick wool. Here's a sneak peek of a few of those. And my garden. And my cat.

My garden:

Apparently, one becomes an obsessive waiting for sunflowers to bloom.

I am going to eat all of them. All of them.

Cornflowers - a pretty weed

 Requsite cat picture:


And some knitting:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

A Victory over Asparagus

I'm fairly new to this whole gardening thing. While for most of my younger life I resigned myself to the nickname of "Black Thumb," our current flat came with the bonus of a South-facing sheltered courtyard, perfect for lining with potted plants.

Knowing how expensive and sometimes-rare fresh blueberries are to find here in the UK, my first purchase was a Bluecrop blueberry bush.

This was closely followed by a Jersey, and I'm sure there will be a number of others once I, erm, get some more space.

I careened into gardening with a very blissful ignorance of what would grow in pots. As a result, I am now growing two very large containers of asparagus. The funny thing is, if I were a real, knowledgeable gardener, I probably would have started new seedlings after these ones got legs long enough to make it in Hollywood (badaboom):

But I planted them out anyway. In pots. I'd pretty much given up on them and was just going to let them run their course and curl up and die, but when I was checking up on them today, I found this:

Now just to keep myself from eating the shoots for  a few years.
I think I might actually be okay at this gardening thing after all.

Though the sun probably helps, too.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

New Pattern: Grasslands

Spring always arrives with a herald of lace. Though England has lately been cool enough to have me in wool year-round, to do so feels like a curse on the poor new leaves and flowers struggling into existence amid the cold.

My first design of Spring 2012, Grasslands, attempts to bring around the lush green Spring I want...if only in knitted form.

On this stole, a patchwork of lines and paths shoot diagonally and across. A single-ply yarn with bias (shown here in one skein of the scrumptious Madelinetosh Prairie, colour Moorland) is used to great effect in a suspended bead edging, hanging in delicate twists from each end.

The pattern is now available for purchase on Ravelry.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Introducing Hill Town Wools

I've been working on another project over the past few months, and yesterday I finally unveiled it: my new Etsy shop, Hill Town Wools.

Kelmscott Lace
Hill Town Wools is a selection of some of my favourite natural fibre blends (such as Kelmscott, a BFL, Baby Alpaca, and Mulberry Silk blend) handspun into light, shimmery yarn, made right here in my home in Oxfordshire, England. Stock is limited at the moment, but there will be more added all the time, so check back regularly!

Saturday, 5 May 2012

May Day

It's been a hard but wonderful week, involving the death of my grandfather (who lived to a well-aged 93, and led a very full life. RIP Grandpa W), a new volunteer job as the dog and cat photographer at my local animal shelter, and lots of opportunities from new dwellings to developing new aspects of my business.

Some of the best hours of my week were spent with my camera at the shelter, helping my friends find homes. A few of my favourites:

Tommy is 18 months old and lost a front leg to a car accident. It doesn't stop him from acting just like a regular cat, though.

Cassie likes to smile when she's happy, which can sometimes look quite alarming! I was proud of getting this smiling-without-the-teeth shot.

Jess is my favourite dog I have met in years, and I would take her home in a second if I could.

Thank you for working the camera for me, guys!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Spring 2012 in Pictures

I'm having what my family would call one continuous love affair with the British countryside. My photo albums on Facebook are so long that most people who even attempt to look at them must give up after the third scroll-and-load (but maybe that's being generous?). But the thing is, how can you not live here and see that certain times must be captured? How can you not want to immortalize the fragile young growth of English Spring?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Update: Test Knitting

(cross-posted from my Ravelry group)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be ready to start testing a few new patterns, and I’m going to have a go at something a little different. I have been testing in the Free Pattern Testers group, which has been great, but I think I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ready to start tests in my own Ravelry group.

So I’m going to give pattern testing a go in this group. If it doesn’t work out, I won’t hesitate to move it back over to Free Pattern Testers, but I thought it might be worth a try! The same basic structure and rules will apply, most importantly: please don’t sign up for a test if you don’t have time for it. If you’re unable to finish by the deadline (without good reason), I will not be able to accept you for further tests. If many people are finding it hard to finish on time, I will extend the deadline.


I will post a new thread in this group titled “TEST KNIT: Pattern Name (Project Type)” with pictures, pattern details (sizes, gauge, required materials) and testing requirements (number of testers needed, deadline date, etc). I'll announce on Twitter, blog, etc. when a new test knit is ready to sign up to.

Please post in the thread that you’re interested (this is for other members’ reference), and pm me your e-mail address to get started. I will only have limited places, so once I have everyone I need, I will close the thread to further sign-ups.

Once enough people have expressed interest, I will send out the pattern (for free, of course!) to everyone who I have accepted to test (note: almost everyone will be accepted; the only reasons I would decline are if there is a history of not finishing tests or I don’t feel your skill level is quite there yet). You can always use whatever yarn you would like, depending on whether or not it’s appropriate for the pattern.

I’ll earburn anyone who hasn’t posted in a while (say every week or two), just to check up on how you’re doing. I encourage everyone to post progress reports/pics/comments/or just chat in the thread.

Please let me know when you’re done and I’ll mark you as finished, and let me have a link to the project in your notebook. And I love to see pictures!

I think that’s it. Please let me know if you have any questions!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Darlington, Revisited

This time of year always makes me thankful for my wellies (also called, depending on where you're from, rain boots, gumboots, galoshes, and, I'm sure, a host of other names!). I live in the countryside in the south of England, where wellington boots are worn with the same devotion with which Pacific Northwesterners wear socks with sandals year round. And as any Briton knows, wellies don't fit correctly without the proper knitwear.

So Darlington was born, partly out of necessity, partly out of my love of cables. Inspired by welly socks with their long, fold-over cuffs (the sample is even knit in a colour similar to Hunter red) and over-the-trouser fit, I wanted a sock that would stretch to fit over my jeans (they stay up better that way) and make wellies warmer and more comfortable. And I just thought that I had to share these with the world.

Kate at Twist Collective loved the idea, too, and worked with  me to create an ornate pair of stockings that look even better outside the boot. Ribbing ensures a good, close fit around the foot and keeps them from sliding down, while a pretty cable winds up to the cuff, with a matching medallion at the calf. Toe-up construction makes it easy to customise the fit and sport-weight yarn makes them knit up very fast. I loved the sample, which meant that right after I made it (sadly, what with my monstrous calves, they don't fit me), I knew I had to make my own pair.

My own handspun pair have been my constant companions during this long, cold and damp English winter, and have found their own place, nestled inside my wellington boots by the doorway. I'm sure they will keep me company right into English summertime.

You can find Darlington in the Winter 2011 issue of Twist Collective, and for sale in their shop.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

New Pattern: Old Bones

I'm starting a new part-time job (um, making sweets) in a little while, so I'm full steam ahead in getting more new patterns out while I can! And while my samples still fit me...

Say hello to my new aran-weight small shawl pattern, Old Bones:

Old Bones is super cozy, warm, enveloping, and quick to knit. I've been living in it since blocking. The pattern is available both fully charted and with full written instructions. Go check it out and buy from Ravelry!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Stippers and Alyn

Making up for lost time!

Over the holidays, I was able to release two new patterns:

Alyn is completely handspun from three-ply oatmeal Blue-faced Leicester. I love this fibre. It makes for a soft but hard-wearing men's sweater, with ribbing, cables, and a half-zip collar. My husband almost never takes it off. And, since it was released in Knitty, the pattern is free!

And just a few weeks old but already one of my most popular patterns: Stippers

The pattern name is turning heads (they're named for my husband's sweet, dyslexic habit of crossing his "L"s - I'm fully aware that the name may be eye-catching for different reasons!), but so is their clever seamless construction, arch shaping, continuous braided cable, and the fact that they're not felted. I wear mine every day. I'm going to need to make another pair soon - besides, they only take a few hours to make. The sample is made in soft, sturdy and bulky Quince and Co. Puffin.


This is a list of common abbreviations and stitches I use in my patterns: refer to it if an abbreviation has you stumped or you just want to double-check to make sure you're doing a decrease correctly.

*repeat from * to current place in row
[ ] and ( )repeat instructions in brackets or parentheses as designated
bmbefore marker
BObind off (cast off)
Cddcenter double decrease: Sl 2 sts tog k-wise, k1, pass 2 sl sts over
CCcontrasting color (refer to yarn requirements)
cncable needle
COcast on
dpndouble point(ed) needle
gs (garter stitch)If working flat, knit every row. If working in the round, K 1 rnd, p 1 rnd.
k2togknit 2 stitches together
k3togknit 3 stitches together
kbfknit into back and front of same stitch
kfbknit into front and back of same stitch
LHleft hand
LLIKnit into stitch 2 rows below stitch on RH needle
mmeter(s) or marker
M1Pick up strand between sts from back to front with LH ndl, knit this strand.
M1RPick up strand between sts from back to front with LH ndl, knit this strand.
M1LPick up strand between sts from front to back with LH ndl, knit this strand tbl.
M1PPick up strand between sts from back to front with LH ndl, purl this strand.
MCmain color (refer to yarn requirements)
p2togpurl two stitches together
pfbpurl into front and back of same stitch
pmplace marker
pssopass slipped stitch(es) over
RHright hand
RLIKnit into stitch 1 row below next st on LH needle
RSRight Side of work
s2kpslip 2 stitches together k-wise, k1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over
sk2pslip 1 st p-wise, k2tog, pass the slipped st over
smslip marker
St stStockinette stitch (stocking stitch)
sskslip next 2 sts separately k-wise, sl these sts back to LH needle and k2tog
sspslip next 2 sts separately k-wise, sl these sts back to LH needle and p2tog through back loops
tblthrough the back of the loop(s)
w&twrap and turn. See Knitting Help for more information.
WSwrong side (private side) of work
wyibwith the yarn in back
wyifwith the yarn in front
yoyarn over needle (lace increase)