Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The April issue of Knitting magazine features this Spring Lace Blouse pattern by Bronagh Miskelly, which won a reader’s design competition run by King Cole and the magazine.

Bronagh let us know that the whole thing was knitted using KnitPro needles which she loves.

“The theme of the competition was ‘Vintage Inspiration’ which was perfect for me. I have a large collection of magazines from the 1940s and 50s and am very interested in the knitwear styles from that period. Sweaters were designed to be fitted, almost tailored and very flattering,” says Bronagh. “So, I came up with a short-sleeved top with lace panels and a collar which is very much on trend right now.”

It’s no mean feat to design a garment from scratch even if you do have lots of inspiration.  Not only do you have to make sure the lace and panels work and get all the measurements right, but the design has to be graded for lots of different sizes.  We think Bronagh’s design will be a very flattering addition to any wardrobe.

“I only use DPNs and circular needles, even when working in rows, so I have a big collection of KnitPro needles, especially interchangeable ends. The main part of this sweater was knitted using Symfonie tips because I like their smoothness when I’m knitting lace and finer yarns like this 4-ply.”

You can see more of Bronagh’s patterns at http://www.lapurplepenguin.com/patterns.html

Have any of you created your own designs?  We’d love to see them.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Double the Fun

There are so many wonderful techniques to learn when you knit and crochet so we would like to explore some of these with you each month on this blog.

The first fascinating technique we are going to look at is Double Knitting.  A double layered, reversible piece of fabric is produced by simultaneously knitting the front and the back on one set of needles. Most often you will use it for colour work using two yarns.  The back of the fabric is a mirror image of the front.

Here is an example of a lovely coaster.

It sounds complicated but it really isn’t and there are lots of wonderful, cosy patterns on Ravelry to try out.

The most important thing is to set up your stitches correctly, which is where the cast on is critical.  One method is to cast on the stitches with the two yarns doubled up which gives the braided effect you can see in the picture. If your pattern has 20 stitches for one side then you cast on 20 stitches. Then when you come to work the first row you need to decide which is going to be the colour for the front and which for the back from the two loops that represent each stitch. You knit the front stitch in colour A and then purl the back stitch in colour B with both yarns coming to the front of your work on the purl stitch. So in the design you see here, we knitted in green and then purled in red. After the first row you will have 40 stitches in work.

This video shows you how to do it. 

Another technique is to cast on 20 stitches in just one colour.  Then on your first row knit into the front of the first stitch in colour A then purl in to the back of the same stitch in colour B and repeat across the row. Again, after the first row you will have 40 stitches. Using two colours helps you to identify which stitches belong to which side.

Another top tip is to think about the effect you want to create at the edge of your work.  We like the braided effect so we knit the first and last stitch of each row using both yarns together. You might also like to consider slipping the first stitch of each row for a different effect.

When you knit a pattern in double knitting you will have a chart like this to work from.  You will in effect be knitting each square twice.  Once for the front and again for the back in the second colour. The white squares refer to your dominant colour for each side and the black squares for the second colour to create the pattern.

We found this video very useful. 

Casting off is very straightforward.  You will need to knit each pair of stitches  (front and back) together as you go either with both yarns or just one colour, depending on your cast on. Whichever method you use you might find it easier to knit through the back of both stitches.

You might find that your tension is looser when you knit in this way but that is perfectly normal and the tension will have been taken into account in your pattern, but it is well worth doing a tension square when you are trying out this technique.

We hope this has given you a taste for double knitting.  If you do try and have any problems do let us know and we will get our knitting agony aunt to help you.