Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Necessary (But Boring) Post About Pattern Sales

<boredom> Trying to explain the whole  EU VAT thing is getting me into a pickle, and I'm 'wasting' the only day that I have to get some things done (while everyone else is out) so  I've deleted the lot and I'm going to give you the potted version....

1. I've removed the patterns which I had for sale on Craftsy. My 'Cwtchy Cable Armwarmers' pattern is still available to download there, as it is free of charge and more popular than ever, currently in their "Top 20 Free Patterns". 

2. My 'paid' patterns are still for sale on Ravelry and also via the Love Knitting 'Indie Designer' programme. (It doesn't seem that I can link to all of my patterns together on Loveknitting.com, which is inconvenient, but they are individually listed here.)

3. Depending on where you are based, or rather where your IP address is based (and so whether the new EU VAT rules apply to the sale), if you decide to buy one of my patterns via Ravelry, you may be redirected from Ravelry to Love Knitting to complete the purchase - if that's the case you will need an account to check out. If you do so, the pattern will still appear in your Ravelry library. 

4. For the time being I have standardised the pricing across both providers, so you will pay the same amount wherever you are and whichever site you purchase from. This is currently easier to manage, but may change in the future. 

5. You can find a list of ALL my patterns (free or paid) and links to them on this page

All of the above is a headache I had not anticipated and will have a significant impact on my plans for 2015, as well as the designs I already have in the works. For the next month or two I will continue to post a few free patterns/ recipes here on the blog but this may not be sustainable. My pattern sales have helped to cover the costs of producing the free patterns I post here, but having to pay a higher percentage of the already small price to a third party may mean that this will change.

Some designers have stopped designing and have posted all their patterns for free but without ongoing support, some have removed all from sale, and some have temporarily closed their online shops while they figure things out. I'm not sure what I will do long term as I was really just getting started and wonder if it is worth the time and effort for just a pound or two on each sale. For the sake of the industry - and those whose livelihoods are reliant on income from pattern sales - I hope that a sensible and workable solution can be found.

Here endeth the most boring post I've ever written, which didn't even deserve a picture. I'll be back with pictures, knitting, journaling and ART in the new year! </boredom>
Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Show and Tell: Bricolage by Keri Smith

As I sit here awaiting the arrival of a Wreck This Journal, I've been reading more about the author/illustrator, Keri Smith. I absolutely love her approach, not only to journaling and creating but to living an inquisitive life.  This short film encapsulates the adventurous way in which children experience the world (and creativity) and which we usually lose by adulthood. 

If you already keep a journal you may like this link which includes a list with 100 journaling ideas/ prompts from Keri's website (including a printable PDF). You can find the books here, and lots of inspiration for the WTJ on Pinterest.
Monday, 29 December 2014

Holiday Knitting

Had Archie not been ill with a tummy bug since Christmas Eve (it's currently day 5 of him having no appetite, but at least he is drinking again), and had D not been plagued with headaches for the duration, I might have been telling you that we had a lovely relaxing Christmas. Instead, I'm on first name terms with the local vets and have used a lot of disinfectant... plus anything and everything that smells better than a sick dog (he stinks!) to clear my nostrils.
Christmas 2014
Sitting with a shivering Schnauzer allowed me to get some (unexpected) knitting done. I'd been looking for something to do with the various oddments of handspun yarn - especially the earliest which were neither very even, nor very strong. When I saw the Langfield hat pattern by Martina Behm I was smitten - garter stitch and an interesting construction - that well and truly ticks my boxes! As regular readers will know, Martina is one of my favourite designers, and I wasn't disappointed with this pattern, which was finished in just a few hours.
Christmas 2014
The short dark days makes picture-taking difficult but you get the gist. It's actually sized to fit me, but turned back to form a large brim, it's rather cute on Little Miss - perhaps we'll share it. The pattern is lovely - very easy to knit, and quite relaxing. I'll be making more of these with better yarn, but I'm happy to have finally made something with those small quantities of handspun, and it's very soft and cosy.
Christmas 2014
I also started another relaxing project. This one came as a limited edition Scheepjes yarn kit. Various lovely colourways are available from Deramores ('m using the Burning Flames Colourway)  with €2 from each sale helping children's cancer charity KIKA. The kit included five balls of yarn, a pompom maker and Scheepjes label and both a knit and crochet pattern to choose from. I was seriously tempted to make the crochet version but in the end I chose the knit option so I could do it on auto-pilot with the dog on my lap (you can see both here).  There's nothing like comfort knitting when you're worried, is there?

It's the first time I've knit with Invicta Colour, and I like it a lot - especially the subtle colour changes. In fact I've already planned another project (a shawl design) which I think will suit it perfectly. Come to think of it, it would also be great for one of those hats....
Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Back & Forth Entrelac Part 2: Foundation Triangles

A few weeks have flown by since I started talking about Entrelac and the knitting/crochet collaboration with Wink from A Creative Being, in which we are both making an Entrelac project with the same yarn - one knit and one crochet. My apologies for the unexpected delay, which was mostly due to childhood bugs and lurgies clashing with various deadlines. I'm delighted to be back to the topic today for a practical instalment, which comes in the form of a picture tutorial.
Entrelac tutorial part 1 - foundation triangles
Unless your item is intended to have a jagged edge, you need to start an Entrelac project by constructing the foundation triangles. If you recall the pictures in the first post, these triangles are the base upon which the left- and right-leaning sections are worked.

Entrelac tutorial supplies
For the actual project I'm using 100g/350m pure wool yarn (pictured, it's the same as this one but in a different shade) and 4mm circular needles (60 cm long) as this is going to be a cowl. For the step-by-step photos I've used a different yarn which has a clearer stitch definition so it's easier for you to see exactly what to do. If you're knitting along with me, a yarn with a graduated colour will work well, or you could change to a different colour for each of the tutorials.

As I mentioned previously, Entrelac is a technique which is particularly suited to what I call "knitting backwards", which is knitting back-and-forth across rows,  as there are just a few stitches to knit before turning the work. I don't know about you, but I find constant turning terribly tedious, and it disrupts what might otherwise be relaxing knitting, which happens to be my favourite kind. Since learning to knit backwards (back-and-forth) I've been amazed at how many projects it's been useful for - it's also helpful for teaching left-handed people to knit. I'm determined to champion it as an essential skill for knitters.

 Knitting backwards
Click to view the "Knitting Backwards" tutorial
So this tutorial uses 'backwards knitting' or 'knitting back-and-forth-without-turning' which simply means working a purl stitch from the right needle to the left needle, while the right side of the work is facing you. It is very easy to do... once you get your head around it. If you are knitting along, you'll be proficient well before the end of this project.

I posted a step-by-step tutorial already and you might like to work through that before continuing, if this technique is completely new to you.

In the following instructions you'll find abbreviations for backwards knitting. (If you'd prefer to try Entrelac without backwards knitting, turn and purl at the appropriate points.) Here's how the abbreviations translate:
  • F = Work the front or the right side (RS) of the work
  • B = Work the back (backwards knitting) - if you were turning to purl you'd be working the wrong side (WS) of the work
  • W = work the number of stitches indicated using 'backwards knitting' - if you were turning to purl, it would say P
  • Change direction = if you were turning the work to purl, you'd do so here, but by keeping the RS facing, you're simply changing the direction of your knitting
Note: I'm using 150 stitches for my cowl, and will be working with blocks of 10 stitches. You may prefer to practice by making a swatch which has less stitches, if so use a multiple of ten.
  • Cast on 150 stitches
  • 1. (F) K2, change direction
  • 2. (B) W2, change direction
  • 3. (F) K3, change direction
  • 4. (B) W3, change direction
The arrows show the direction of knitting, and the RS is always facing
Back and forth Entrelac tutorial - base triangles
Continue in this way, knitting one stitch more on each F row, until there are 10 stitches on the right needle (picture 7) and then do not change direction. The first triangle is completed. Repeat the process until the row is complete.
Back and forth Entrelac tutorial - base triangles
In pictures 7 and 8 you can see that the first 10 stitches are left on the right needle, while the process begins again with step 1. I've done this across all 150 stitches of my cowl and am ready to move onto the next step.

In the next tutorial (after the holidays), I'll talk about the main difference between knitting Entrelac 'flat' and 'in-the-round', and will join the stitches to knit the first set of right-leaning rectangles.

Click here to see all the posts in this series - there are links to other resources at the bottom of the last post if you can't wait to get on with the next step. 
Thursday, 18 December 2014

Comfort Knitting (and scrap-stash busting)

It's grey and dismal outside, damp but not cold. It's perfect germ-breeding weather. Everyone local seems to be somewhere on the scale of 'general poorliness' - some are downright ill and the rest of us are what's known as "under the weather" which is about right - I feel grey and dismal too.

If it were possible to cosy up in my favourite armchair all day then I most certainly would. With a week until Christmas and still too much to get done, I managed to sneak a half hour to sit with a mug of tea to finish watching the latest episode of The Legacy. If you don't know it, The Legacy is a Danish TV show in which there is quite a lot of nice knitwear. A long plain ribbed scarf which one of the characters wears with her overcoat has been catching my eye. It always looks so warm and inviting despite being very plain and charcoal grey. I don't have a long ribbed scarf... but I do have some snuggly scraps of Stone Washed XL left over from my 'leftovers' hot water bottle covers (for which I ordered more yarn - yes, such is a knitter's logic!). 
Comfort knitting
You can see how dismal the light is from the picture, but at least there are some colourful scraps waiting to be used up. The question is whether I'll have enough to make it a reasonable length or if I'll need more to finish it. Either way it's perfect comfort knitting and I'm looking forward to a night in front of the fire. Hope you're all staying cosy and well, and I'll be back soon with another new project which might even be of the hooky variety! 
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Happy Birthday LBP!

Can you believe it's a year since I published my first 'proper' pattern? So much has happened in that time, yet in another way it feels like just a few weeks since Charlotte was standing in the cold to model it for me. LBP marked the beginning of a new phase - the start of the transition from 'knitter who blogs' to 'blogger who designs' and as 2015 looms, I have several more patterns in the works, or awaiting publication. When I started a blog about learning to knit I didn't imagine I'd ever be a 'designer' but it seems to be something that's happening accidentally, along the way. Life is funny like that, isn't it? 
As for Little Bear's Porridge, to date it has been downloaded over 4,000 times (!!) although there are only 13 projects on the Ravelry project page,  including this which makes me want a coloured one:

I've seen a few 'in the wild' which aren't on listed on Raverly - if you've made it, I'd love to see how yours turned out and whether you adapted it. This is one of my favourites - it's knit in a lighter weight yarn and makes me want to make a blanket from the motif.
For the moment I don't have time to go back to LBP - I have a friend coming over today to get photographs for a brand new pattern. Something festive that you can knit up quickly! And another idea popped into my head on this morning's dog walk which I need to swatch. I'll keep you posted... 

PS - something odd has happened to the formatting on my Patterns page, but you can still find links to my free and paid patterns there.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Madness

While I was away....
Christmas madness is well and truly here - I think it arrived with the elves (two this year!). I barely know which day it is with all the festive preparations, two school productions (we have a rag doll and Santa), sick kids (oh yes, since the burst eardrum incident we have had two further bouts of sickness) and a trip to Wales to see my grandparents, I'm attempting to finish off four different patterns for release. Yes, it's all gone a bit crazy. I'm on the last stretch with all of the above, but not quite there yet....
While I was away....  While I was away....  While I was away....
I had so many great plans for the blog this month, but in order to prevent complete madness on my part, I'm going to scale things back for the next week or two and catch up with myself. I'm not sure when the next post will be published here, but I'll still be popping onto the Facebook page and Instagram when I can. See you soon! 
Saturday, 6 December 2014

Free Pattern: Knits & Purls Mini Hot Water Bottle Cover

Untitled
A day later than promised, here is the pattern for the Mini Hot Water Bottle Cover I made using the leftovers from my Cosy Colourblock Shawl. It's a quick knit and I think it would make a cute gift. This one took only 31g of bulky Stone Washed XL yarn - and the mini 500ml hot water bottles it fits are inexpensive, which is an added bonus (I got mine from Amazon for around £2 each).  

First a confession - when I started knitting this I wasn't planning to publish the pattern so I didn't weigh the amount of yarn used for each section. As an estimation, colours A and B each make up over 30% of the the total so if you have at least 12g of the Colour 3 and more of each other others, you should be fine!

You will need:
-Total of 35g of Stone Washed XL bulky yarn (approx 50m) 
- 5mm circular needles (or DPNs) for knitting in the round
- Needle for sewing the flap 

Skills/ Stitches Used: 
- Judy’s Magic Cast On (JMCO)
- Knit
- Purl
- K2tog / P2tog decreases
- Ssk decrease
- Mattress stitch for the flap at the top


Instructions: 
Set up - 
  • Using Judy's Magic Cast On, and Colour 1, cast on 40 stitches (20 on each needle)
  • Round 1: *K1, p1; work from * to end, as JMCO twists half of the sts, remember to work into the back of the sts on the second needle for this round only 
  • Round 2: *P1, k1; work from * to end
Bottom section - in Lemon Quartz (yellow)
  • Round 3: *K1, p1, k7, p1 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 4: *P1, k1, p1, k5, p1, k1 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 5: *(K1, p1) x 2, k3, p1, k1, p1 ; work from * 4 times 
  • Round 6: *K2, (p1, k1) x 4 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 8: *K4, p1, k1, p1, k3 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 7: *K3, (p1, k1) x 2, p1, k2 ; work from * 4 times
  • Round 9: Repeat round 7
  • Round 10: Repeat round 6
  • Round 11: Repeat round 5
  • Round 12: Repeat round 4
  • Repeat rounds 3 to 12 once more
Middle section -  in Smokey Quartz (grey)
  • Using Colour 2, start working this section as follows
  • Round A: *P2, k1, p1, k1; work from * to end
  • Round B: *P2, k3; work from * to end
  • Repeat rounds A and B eight times
    Shaping & working the opening - to keep the pattern as simple as possible, instructions are given for each needle and repeated it twice (i.e. half of the stitches are held on each needle in an identical way, work each set of instructions twice) 
    Mini hot water bottle cover - free pattern
    • Repeat A once more
    • [P2tog, k3, *p2, k3; work from *to last 5 sts on needle, p2, k1, k2tog] twice = 36 sts
    • [(P1, k1) twice, *p2, k1, p1, k1; work from * to last 4 sts on needle, p2, k1, p1] twice
    • [K2tog, k2, *p2, k3; work from *to last 4 sts on needle, p2, ssk] twice = 32 sts
    • [K1, p1, k1, *p2, k1, p1, k1; work from *to last 3 sts on needle, p2, k1] twice
    • Switch to Colour 3 - Amazonite (blue)
    • [K to last 2 sts on needle, ssk] twice = 30 sts
    • Work in p3, k2 rib for approx 5 cm or until the front measures almost to the top of the hot water bottle lid, as pictured
    • Bind off 13 sts (= 17 sts) then continue to work back-and-forth / flat in the rib pattern for another 8 cms
    • Change back to Colour 2 to work 1 cm before bind off
    • Bind off in pattern
    • Fold the top flap over the lid and opening then use Mattress Stitch on the right side of the work to secure the flaps at either side. Work into the 'ladder' between the k2 sections of the rib - the picture below shows which stitches to work between. Sewing right up into the fold will leave a neat and almost invisible join which appears to be part of a continuous rib
    Untitled
    Once both sides are sewn, simply weave in the remaining ends. With the flap folded open, the top section will comfortably stretch wide enough for the empty bottle to be inserted (bend it in half), and as the yarn is washable acrylic/cotton, the cover can be removed in the same way for laundering.
    I really like this little cover. It's very tactile and snuggly - it has already come in handy as both children were unwell in the last week. After lots of requests from my friend Charlotte (you'll know her as my occasional model!) I've been making a full sized version in glorious colours (I got to use the purple at last) - unfortunately that meant completely altering the shaping and the gauge/ needles to suit the increased size of a standard bottle. The pattern may become available as a charted PDF in future, I'll let you know.

    Copyright information: This pattern is free to use, download or print strictly for personal use only. For commercial use (including printing for shops in part or in full to sell or give for free, or making of kits using this pattern) the designer must be contacted in writing to arrange a copyright agreement. Thank you. 
    Monday, 1 December 2014

    Scheepjes Christmas Blog Hop: Knitted Star Motif

    As regular readers will know, I've recently fallen for Scheepjes Stone Washed yarn in a big way. It all started when I cast on the Cosy Colourblock Shawl. The Leaf Collector's Mitts quickly followed, and more recently I've finished a Mini Hot Water Bottle made from left-overs (pattern coming Friday). Yes, it's Scheepjes Love with a capital L. So you'll understand I was delighted to have the chance to kick off their Christmas Blog Hop, and thought it would be fun to try a different yarn from the range... and to make something small and delicate for a change.

    Untitled
    I knew immediately that I wanted to make a knitted star and that it would be the perfect excuse for something glitzy - Lizzy, an 80/20 Viscose/ Polyester sparkly yarn which is constructed like a very fine icord with a recommended needle size of 2-3 mm. The yarn comes in a 25g ball which is a total of 101m - a little goes a long way.  After looking up lots of different star patterns, and finding nothing that was quite right, I made up my own, as follows...

    Untitled
    Materials:
    - 6.5g Scheepjes Lizzy
    - 3.25 mm DPNs / circular needles for knitting in-the-round
    - Pins for blocking
    Stitches used:
    - Knit and purl
    - K2tog = knit 2 stitches together (right-leaning decrease)
    - Skpsso = slip one stitch, knit one stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch (left-leaning decrease)

    Instructions: 
    • Cast on 10 sts
    • Kfb to end = 20 sts
    • Join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist
    • Knit one round
    • (K1, kfb) to end = 30 sts
    • Knit one round
    • (K2, kfb twice, k2) to end = 40 sts
    • Knit one round
    • (K3, kfb twice, k3) to end = 50 sts
    • Knit one round
    • (K4, kfb twice, k4) to end = 60 sts
    • Knit one round
    • (K5, kfb twice, k5) to end = 70 sts
    • Knit one round
    • (K6, kfb twice, k6) to end = 80 sts
    • Knit one round
    From here, the five different 'points' of the star are individually worked flat (back and forth), not in-the-round, starting with  the first 16 stitches.  You will need to rejoin the yarn for each of the points, ensure to leave enough tails to sew in ends.
    1. (RS) K16
    2. (WS) K1, p to last st, k1
    3. K6, skpsso, k2tog, k6 = 14 sts
    4. Repeat 2
    5. K5, skpsso, k2tog, k5 = 12 sts
    6. Repeat 2
    7. K4, skpsso, k2tog, k4 = 10 sts
    8. Repeat 2
    9. K3, skpsso, k2tog, k3 = 8 sts
    10. Repeat 2
    11. K2, skpsso, k2tog, k2 = 6 sts
    12. Repeat 2
    13. K1, skpsso, k2tog, k1 = 4 sts
    14. Repeat 2
    15. K1, k2tog, k1 = 3 sts
    16. K1, p1, k1
    17. K3tog = 1 st
    18. Break yarn, pull through remaining st to bind off
    19. Repeat 1 to 18 four times
    20. If you're not used to knitting lace designs, right about now you'll be wondering how this little scrunched up thing will ever look like a star - fear not! This is where the pins come in....
    Untitled
    Dampen the piece and then use pins at the centre and the end of each point so that the lace pattern opens up. In the photo above, you can see the difference you can make by opening up the lace to differing degrees - compare the 6 o'clock and 8 o'clock positioned points - you can choose which you prefer. When the pins are all in place, leave to dry and then sew in all ends / add any embellishments you prefer. I used a teardrop bead at the end of each point.
    Untitled
    Mine is a decorative coaster but you can use this pattern for anything you like, for example:
    - Make more and join them together at the points to form a large centre-piece
    - Tape a star to the wall or in the window using pretty washi tape
    - Sew onto a plain black t-shirt to add festive sparkle
    - You may like to use a thicker yarn to produce a large star, or make two and sew them together to fill with stuffing.

    Tomorrow the Scheepjes Christmas Blog Hop continues with a post from Kirsten and you can find more information on the Scheepjes Facebook page
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    DISCLAIMER: Crafts from the Cwtch is part of the Deramores, Craftsy, Etsy, Creativebug and Amazon Affiliate programmes and works with a few carefully selected sponsors. Where posts or projects are sponsored, the opinions will always be entirely my own. You can find out more about affiliate links and blog sponsorship here.

    Hello and welcome. If it's your first visit you may like to start with my most popular tips & tutorials, or the patterns. You can read more about me on the 'Hello' page and you may also like the CftC pages on Ravelry, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Etsy. I hope you enjoy your visit! Sarah
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