Almost exactly a year ago, I ordered a single skein of Malabrigo Mecha (in Peidras colourway). There was a design idea in my mind for it, but when it arrived I was so stunned by the colours, all my confidence evaporated. What one earth could I make that would do it justice? How could I come up with something nice enough to use this beautiful yarn? I felt yarn-shy and I suppose it was a kind of impotence and for the last twelve months this stunning yarn has been sitting in a bag, partially knit into a swatch. 


Over the last year something in me must have changed. Whether as a person or as a maker of things I'm not sure, but when I re-discovered the skein today I had no such reservations -  it's absolutely gorgeous and needs to be used! I immediately ripped out the swatch, re-balled it and have already drafted a chart. 


There is just 120m to play with but tonight a new design begins. Something simple which will let the yarn sing. I can't wait to start swatching. 


Have you ever experienced this kind of yarn impotence? What was the yarn and how did you get over it? 

Cwtch Speak Lesson 8: 'Yarn impotence'

Almost exactly a year ago, I ordered a single skein of Malabrigo Mecha (in Peidras colourway). There was a design idea in my mind for it, but when it arrived I was so stunned by the colours, all my confidence evaporated. What one earth could I make that would do it justice? How could I come up with something nice enough to use this beautiful yarn? I felt yarn-shy and I suppose it was a kind of impotence and for the last twelve months this stunning yarn has been sitting in a bag, partially knit into a swatch. 


Over the last year something in me must have changed. Whether as a person or as a maker of things I'm not sure, but when I re-discovered the skein today I had no such reservations -  it's absolutely gorgeous and needs to be used! I immediately ripped out the swatch, re-balled it and have already drafted a chart. 


There is just 120m to play with but tonight a new design begins. Something simple which will let the yarn sing. I can't wait to start swatching. 


Have you ever experienced this kind of yarn impotence? What was the yarn and how did you get over it? 
I've been watching my mother gradually turn into my nan for the last few years. I often laughed about it, until someone pointed out that if it's a generational thing, I would soon be laughing on the other side of my (her) face. Before you start saying how lovely my mother is, that I should be thankful to be like her etc, I have to tell you that I'm not complaining about it as much as making an observation.

When I was a child, I often came home to find rooms redecorated, new curtains made, all the soft furnishings replaced and so on. A few days ago I came home from the afternoon school-run, walked into the kitchen, looked at the cushions on the chairs and had to change them. Immediately. Within ten minutes I'd rummaged through a box of remnants my mother gave me, set up the sewing machine and started sewing. I sat down to dinner that night with a set of (five) new cushion covers, and the realisation that it really is happening - I'm finally turning into my mother. I text her...


Having finished them *just* in time to dish up our meal, I didn't get any pictures before they were sat on and creased, but I can hardly post this without a picture and this gives you a general idea.


They are very basic, but as I'm not exactly an expert sewist I'm pretty pleased with them. I will admit that I had a little help from this Craftsy ebook. If you want a (free) copy, click on the image below to go to the download page.



Of course, my budget (free!) cushion make-over meant that the new covers clashed with the table-cloth so I had to buy a new one of those too. It almost feels like a new room (and EXACTLY the sort of thing Mum would do!). So come on, 'fess up - who are you turning into, and why?

Quick Cushion Makeover (aka The day I turned into my mother)

I've been watching my mother gradually turn into my nan for the last few years. I often laughed about it, until someone pointed out that if it's a generational thing, I would soon be laughing on the other side of my (her) face. Before you start saying how lovely my mother is, that I should be thankful to be like her etc, I have to tell you that I'm not complaining about it as much as making an observation.

When I was a child, I often came home to find rooms redecorated, new curtains made, all the soft furnishings replaced and so on. A few days ago I came home from the afternoon school-run, walked into the kitchen, looked at the cushions on the chairs and had to change them. Immediately. Within ten minutes I'd rummaged through a box of remnants my mother gave me, set up the sewing machine and started sewing. I sat down to dinner that night with a set of (five) new cushion covers, and the realisation that it really is happening - I'm finally turning into my mother. I text her...


Having finished them *just* in time to dish up our meal, I didn't get any pictures before they were sat on and creased, but I can hardly post this without a picture and this gives you a general idea.


They are very basic, but as I'm not exactly an expert sewist I'm pretty pleased with them. I will admit that I had a little help from this Craftsy ebook. If you want a (free) copy, click on the image below to go to the download page.



Of course, my budget (free!) cushion make-over meant that the new covers clashed with the table-cloth so I had to buy a new one of those too. It almost feels like a new room (and EXACTLY the sort of thing Mum would do!). So come on, 'fess up - who are you turning into, and why?
This post is part of the Rock Those Socks Make-along. Over the next month I'll be posting weekly instalments of a simple toe-up sock pattern. The pattern is suitable for knitters who can knit in-the-round, and have a fundamental understanding of sock construction. You may find the earlier series on De-mystifying Toe-Up Socks helpful if you haven't made toe-up socks before.


This instalment will take you from casting on at the toe to knitting the foot using the chevron stitch pattern - it is the longest post in the series but stick with it. Once you get to grips with this part, the rest is easy.

Rock Those Socks Make-along: Sizing, knitting the foot, and establishing the stitch pattern using  Scheepjes Invicta

While I'm sharing the knitting pattern, Maria will be publishing instructions on how to make crochet slipper-socks. If you'd like to join us, by making either project (or both), simply tag your WIPs with #rockthosesocksmal when posting on social media, or join the discussion on the Ravelry group. If you missed it, the post with all kinds of introductory information including the list of materials, can be found here.

UPDATED: I did a live Periscope broadcast including some tips for casting on and sizing. The broadcast will be available to replay until 13:00 BST on Thursday 15th October. Click here to view online or use the Periscope app - my username is @Sarah_Knight - note that you will need a Twitter account to log into Periscope, more info here

The stitch pattern:

The stitch pattern I've chosen is a simple and subtle chevron, worked over eight stitches. It's unisex and works well with this yarn, adding just enough interest without fighting the colours. If making the standard size (64 stitches per round) it repeats exactly four times across the top of the foot, and eight times around the leg. The Chevron pattern is worked as follows: 

If you prefer written instructions, the brackets are repeated across the patterned area
Pattern round 1: (P1, k3)  
Pattern round 2: (K1, p1, k5, p1) 
Pattern round 3: (K2, p1, k3, p1, k1) 
Pattern round 4: (K3, p1, k1, p1, k2) 

Extreme close-up of the Chevron Stitch sock, knit on 2.5mm needles using Invicta Colour

The size (and how to change it): 

When you buy socks from a shop, one size fits a wide range of sizes as there is negative ease (ie they stretch). The same is true of hand-knit socks and a bit of negative ease will help them to fit snugly, but we don't want to stretch them too much so that they wear through quickly!

STANDARD SIZING
I've written this unisex pattern for an average sized 22 cm foot circumference. Using 2.5mm needles, the sock circumference  is 19 cm on the needles when knit at a gauge of 15 sts and 17 rows to 5 x 5 cm in stocking stitch. You can either change the size by altering the needle size, or altering the number of stitches you use. If you want your socks to fit, it is important to measure your foot and ankle circumference and to make a swatch before you start.  Note that the more your sock has to stretch (and it will stretch quite a lot if it needs to), the shorter it will be, so you will need to add extra length to get a good fit over a wider foot, although you may not need to adjust the number of stitches. Of course, the ideal thing is to try it on as you go!

CUSTOM SIZING
If using the chevron stitch, you will need to work in multiples of 8 sts. In the illustration below Sock (A) is the size as written, and Sock (B) is a smaller custom size with 56 sts per round. For the leg, that equates to seven whole repeats of the chevron pattern. But the pattern is worked on the top of the foot only (the sole is plain for comfort and to fit better in a shoe) and 28 is not divisible by 8. So for sock (B), you might consider knitting three repeats of the pattern (24 sts), with two plain stitches on either side of the patterned section of the foot. Then simply continue the pattern around the leg at the relevant point, placing a stitch marker at the start of the first pattern repeat, so you know where to start each new pattern round.


If you wish to make a totally custom size (eg for a child, as someone asked already) you can still use the same construction method and knit along with us, but you will need to calculate your own number of stitches for the cast on, the toe, and the length. If you haven't resized a pattern before, you may prefer to knit your socks plain (all stocking stitch) or to use a simple rib, if you don't want to work out how to fit the chevron stitch onto the socks.

Stitches / Techniques:

- JMCO / Judy's Magic Cast On (previous tutorial here)
- K = knit
- P = purl
- M1l = make 1 left*
- M1r = make 1 right*
Edit: *Find my explanation and pictures here (or video tutorials at knittinghelp.com) if you're not familiar with these increases. 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Using JMCO, cast on 32 stitches (16 on each needle - the first needle will be the top part of the foot / front of leg and the second needle will be the sole of foot / back of leg)
2. Knit one round, ensuring to work into the back of stitches on the second needle only (to untwist)
3. Work the toe shaping as follows, until you have 64 stitches (32 on each needle) or until the toe is the required size, which should be :
  • Round 1: (K1, m1l, knit to the last st on the needle, m1r, k1) twice
  • Round 2: Knit
  • Repeat 1 and 2 until the toe is the correct number of stitches, ending after round 2
4. With the required number of stitches, work the foot as follows:
  • Needle 1 (top of foot): work in Chervron stitch as per stitch pattern above
  • Needle 2 (sole): knit
  • Continue in this way until the sock measures approximately 5 cm less than the total length of the foot they are intended for (there's more about 'sock maths' in my earlier tutorial) unless you need to knit extra length to accommodate a wider foot (as noted above)
COMING NEXT WEEK: Inserting the afterthought heel place-holder and working the pattern onto the leg. It's a much shorter post than this one, I promise! 

Rock Those Socks Part 1: Stitches, sizing and knitting the foot

This post is part of the Rock Those Socks Make-along. Over the next month I'll be posting weekly instalments of a simple toe-up sock pattern. The pattern is suitable for knitters who can knit in-the-round, and have a fundamental understanding of sock construction. You may find the earlier series on De-mystifying Toe-Up Socks helpful if you haven't made toe-up socks before.


This instalment will take you from casting on at the toe to knitting the foot using the chevron stitch pattern - it is the longest post in the series but stick with it. Once you get to grips with this part, the rest is easy.

Rock Those Socks Make-along: Sizing, knitting the foot, and establishing the stitch pattern using  Scheepjes Invicta

While I'm sharing the knitting pattern, Maria will be publishing instructions on how to make crochet slipper-socks. If you'd like to join us, by making either project (or both), simply tag your WIPs with #rockthosesocksmal when posting on social media, or join the discussion on the Ravelry group. If you missed it, the post with all kinds of introductory information including the list of materials, can be found here.

UPDATED: I did a live Periscope broadcast including some tips for casting on and sizing. The broadcast will be available to replay until 13:00 BST on Thursday 15th October. Click here to view online or use the Periscope app - my username is @Sarah_Knight - note that you will need a Twitter account to log into Periscope, more info here

The stitch pattern:

The stitch pattern I've chosen is a simple and subtle chevron, worked over eight stitches. It's unisex and works well with this yarn, adding just enough interest without fighting the colours. If making the standard size (64 stitches per round) it repeats exactly four times across the top of the foot, and eight times around the leg. The Chevron pattern is worked as follows: 

If you prefer written instructions, the brackets are repeated across the patterned area
Pattern round 1: (P1, k3)  
Pattern round 2: (K1, p1, k5, p1) 
Pattern round 3: (K2, p1, k3, p1, k1) 
Pattern round 4: (K3, p1, k1, p1, k2) 

Extreme close-up of the Chevron Stitch sock, knit on 2.5mm needles using Invicta Colour

The size (and how to change it): 

When you buy socks from a shop, one size fits a wide range of sizes as there is negative ease (ie they stretch). The same is true of hand-knit socks and a bit of negative ease will help them to fit snugly, but we don't want to stretch them too much so that they wear through quickly!

STANDARD SIZING
I've written this unisex pattern for an average sized 22 cm foot circumference. Using 2.5mm needles, the sock circumference  is 19 cm on the needles when knit at a gauge of 15 sts and 17 rows to 5 x 5 cm in stocking stitch. You can either change the size by altering the needle size, or altering the number of stitches you use. If you want your socks to fit, it is important to measure your foot and ankle circumference and to make a swatch before you start.  Note that the more your sock has to stretch (and it will stretch quite a lot if it needs to), the shorter it will be, so you will need to add extra length to get a good fit over a wider foot, although you may not need to adjust the number of stitches. Of course, the ideal thing is to try it on as you go!

CUSTOM SIZING
If using the chevron stitch, you will need to work in multiples of 8 sts. In the illustration below Sock (A) is the size as written, and Sock (B) is a smaller custom size with 56 sts per round. For the leg, that equates to seven whole repeats of the chevron pattern. But the pattern is worked on the top of the foot only (the sole is plain for comfort and to fit better in a shoe) and 28 is not divisible by 8. So for sock (B), you might consider knitting three repeats of the pattern (24 sts), with two plain stitches on either side of the patterned section of the foot. Then simply continue the pattern around the leg at the relevant point, placing a stitch marker at the start of the first pattern repeat, so you know where to start each new pattern round.


If you wish to make a totally custom size (eg for a child, as someone asked already) you can still use the same construction method and knit along with us, but you will need to calculate your own number of stitches for the cast on, the toe, and the length. If you haven't resized a pattern before, you may prefer to knit your socks plain (all stocking stitch) or to use a simple rib, if you don't want to work out how to fit the chevron stitch onto the socks.

Stitches / Techniques:

- JMCO / Judy's Magic Cast On (previous tutorial here)
- K = knit
- P = purl
- M1l = make 1 left*
- M1r = make 1 right*
Edit: *Find my explanation and pictures here (or video tutorials at knittinghelp.com) if you're not familiar with these increases. 

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Using JMCO, cast on 32 stitches (16 on each needle - the first needle will be the top part of the foot / front of leg and the second needle will be the sole of foot / back of leg)
2. Knit one round, ensuring to work into the back of stitches on the second needle only (to untwist)
3. Work the toe shaping as follows, until you have 64 stitches (32 on each needle) or until the toe is the required size, which should be :
  • Round 1: (K1, m1l, knit to the last st on the needle, m1r, k1) twice
  • Round 2: Knit
  • Repeat 1 and 2 until the toe is the correct number of stitches, ending after round 2
4. With the required number of stitches, work the foot as follows:
  • Needle 1 (top of foot): work in Chervron stitch as per stitch pattern above
  • Needle 2 (sole): knit
  • Continue in this way until the sock measures approximately 5 cm less than the total length of the foot they are intended for (there's more about 'sock maths' in my earlier tutorial) unless you need to knit extra length to accommodate a wider foot (as noted above)
COMING NEXT WEEK: Inserting the afterthought heel place-holder and working the pattern onto the leg. It's a much shorter post than this one, I promise! 
If you're a regular reader you'll know that I like adaptable knitting patterns which can be customised. I also love using 'recipes' that don't need to be followed to the letter, so I can go a bit 'off piste'. As such, it's unusual for me to pick up a book and want to immediately cast on all the things. For this reason I am delighted to be a part of the Knit Play Colour blog tour*, as this is a rare thing indeed - a book I wish I'd written. 

All photos by Jesse Wilde, used with permission
Knit Play Colour is the first book from Louise Zass-Bangham of Inspiration Knits and includes a collection of ten patterns to make beautiful accessories. The patterns showcase many stunning yarns from top indie-producers and several projects will have you reaching for those irresistibly bright single skeins you bought at a festival without having the slightest idea what you might do with them!


Of course once you see the pictures, you may want to add to your stash, not choose from it - and who would blame you as there are some stunners!


It's not all shawls, scarves and cowls - you can make blankets or wraps too. And here's the thing, for each pattern Louise provides a list of alternative ways you can play with the design. For example, Shadowlines (below) is a shawl which can easily be elongated to make a luxurious throw, but that's not all - Louise provides three pages of alternative ways to play with the pattern by changing the yarn, the gauge, the width and the cables. She suggests alternative yarns with different properties too. The book is not only practical, but also educational!  


As well as lots of ideas for customisation, you will read about playing with colours and yarn weights, how to explore texture, and more. This is not just a pattern book and I chose to include it in the Festive Gift Guide because, yes, the projects would certainly make beautiful gifts, but more importantly because I think it would be a great resource for any knitter who enjoys experimenting. (Don't worry, Louise has minimised the risk of trying your own variations by including so much additional information.) 

If you're now wondering how to get hold of it, you can click on any of the images here to go to the Ravelry listing where you can download the ebook. The physical copy (which includes a code to download the ebook copy too) can be obtained directly from Inspiration Knits online or at many independent yarn retailers in the UK and US.  

One lucky reader will win a free download of the ebook, simply by leaving a comment under this post telling me your favourite pattern from this collection (see them all HERE).  On Tuesday 20th October 2015 I'll randomly select one of the comments and get in touch with the download code. Be sure to leave your Ravelry name or blog details so I can contact you.

Update: Congratulations to SharonM4 who won a copy of the ebook!

*I'm stop number seven, if you missed the earlier posts, check out A Playful Day, Miss Babs, Knitted Bliss, Countess Ablaze, Fyberspates and Sweet Georgia Yarns. Tomorrow the tour will stop off at Yarn in the City

Festive Gift Guide Part 3: Knit Play Colour Review & Giveaway

If you're a regular reader you'll know that I like adaptable knitting patterns which can be customised. I also love using 'recipes' that don't need to be followed to the letter, so I can go a bit 'off piste'. As such, it's unusual for me to pick up a book and want to immediately cast on all the things. For this reason I am delighted to be a part of the Knit Play Colour blog tour*, as this is a rare thing indeed - a book I wish I'd written. 

All photos by Jesse Wilde, used with permission
Knit Play Colour is the first book from Louise Zass-Bangham of Inspiration Knits and includes a collection of ten patterns to make beautiful accessories. The patterns showcase many stunning yarns from top indie-producers and several projects will have you reaching for those irresistibly bright single skeins you bought at a festival without having the slightest idea what you might do with them!


Of course once you see the pictures, you may want to add to your stash, not choose from it - and who would blame you as there are some stunners!


It's not all shawls, scarves and cowls - you can make blankets or wraps too. And here's the thing, for each pattern Louise provides a list of alternative ways you can play with the design. For example, Shadowlines (below) is a shawl which can easily be elongated to make a luxurious throw, but that's not all - Louise provides three pages of alternative ways to play with the pattern by changing the yarn, the gauge, the width and the cables. She suggests alternative yarns with different properties too. The book is not only practical, but also educational!  


As well as lots of ideas for customisation, you will read about playing with colours and yarn weights, how to explore texture, and more. This is not just a pattern book and I chose to include it in the Festive Gift Guide because, yes, the projects would certainly make beautiful gifts, but more importantly because I think it would be a great resource for any knitter who enjoys experimenting. (Don't worry, Louise has minimised the risk of trying your own variations by including so much additional information.) 

If you're now wondering how to get hold of it, you can click on any of the images here to go to the Ravelry listing where you can download the ebook. The physical copy (which includes a code to download the ebook copy too) can be obtained directly from Inspiration Knits online or at many independent yarn retailers in the UK and US.  

One lucky reader will win a free download of the ebook, simply by leaving a comment under this post telling me your favourite pattern from this collection (see them all HERE).  On Tuesday 20th October 2015 I'll randomly select one of the comments and get in touch with the download code. Be sure to leave your Ravelry name or blog details so I can contact you.

Update: Congratulations to SharonM4 who won a copy of the ebook!

*I'm stop number seven, if you missed the earlier posts, check out A Playful Day, Miss Babs, Knitted Bliss, Countess Ablaze, Fyberspates and Sweet Georgia Yarns. Tomorrow the tour will stop off at Yarn in the City
Periscope is a video app from Twitter. It's marketed as a way of seeing things through someone else's eyes, via live broadcasts from all over the world. Using Periscope, you could get to experience travelling in a hot air balloon, watch a sunrise on the other side of the world, or see what it's really like to be driving a van to work in Yorkshire. Of course, you can also use it to watch people talking about yarn / knitting / crochet etc.


Anyone with a Twitter account can login to make their own broadcast - which can either be 'public' or viewed by invite (apparently, I haven't used this option). Anyone can view a public broadcast, and you get to comment and ask questions which appear on the broadcaster's screen so they can reply. There is an upper limit for the live stream and popular users are often full quite quickly once the notifications go out to their followers (I couldn't get onto the Yarn Harlot's broadcasts last week). If you miss them, you can replay the broadcast for up to 24 hours. 

Over the last few months, increasing numbers of yarn-crafters, popular bloggers and podcasters have been broadcasting little 'scopes'. Some are running a regular schedule where they show their WIPs and finished projects. Others are using it to teach and inspire, for example  Joeli - the designer, podcaster and tech editor behind Joeli's Kitchen - is running a fabulous Designer Boot Camp which includes educational and inspiring daily 'scopes. Although I don't have time to take part, I've been watching the broadcasts on replay every afternoon and yesterday Joeli was talking about insecurities and the things that stop us doing things in life.  (If you read this post shortly after it's published, you may still be able to catch it here.) Watching Joeli and the comments from live viewers, I decided to (very nervously) broadcast my own first 'scope last night.

It was terrifying at the start, and I worried I'd be sitting there talking to myself, but thanks to the lovely viewers who asked questions and gave lots of hearts*, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I spent 10 minutes talking about the Rock Those Socks make-along, showing the Lowlands Bag in more detail, and showing a really useful parcel that arrived yesterday. (For those who wanted the link, this is the one I bought. A more detailed review will follow when I've used and evaluated it properly.)

WATCH LIVE: Type comments, or tap the screen to show your appreciation
So the upshot is that after so much worry and procrastination, it was actually fun! I'm planning more. It would be lovely to 'make-along' while chatting and I'm also going to a few events which might be fun to share. If you want to follow along, you'll just need to have a Twitter account and the Periscope app, or you can click here to view my feed on your desktop computer, although I can't see a way to comment or send hearts on that.

If you're already using the app and have some recommendations on who to follow, or if you would like to suggest a topic for a broadcast, please leave a comment on this post.

*Send 'hearts' by tapping the screen as you watch via the app. If you really love something, tap the screen lots! This is how the broadcaster knows you are enjoying / appreciating it, and is a massive boost - especially when they are feeling nervous.  You can do this even if you're watching the reply, so the broadcaster can see if you've enjoyed it. 

Things You Should Know about Periscope

Periscope is a video app from Twitter. It's marketed as a way of seeing things through someone else's eyes, via live broadcasts from all over the world. Using Periscope, you could get to experience travelling in a hot air balloon, watch a sunrise on the other side of the world, or see what it's really like to be driving a van to work in Yorkshire. Of course, you can also use it to watch people talking about yarn / knitting / crochet etc.


Anyone with a Twitter account can login to make their own broadcast - which can either be 'public' or viewed by invite (apparently, I haven't used this option). Anyone can view a public broadcast, and you get to comment and ask questions which appear on the broadcaster's screen so they can reply. There is an upper limit for the live stream and popular users are often full quite quickly once the notifications go out to their followers (I couldn't get onto the Yarn Harlot's broadcasts last week). If you miss them, you can replay the broadcast for up to 24 hours. 

Over the last few months, increasing numbers of yarn-crafters, popular bloggers and podcasters have been broadcasting little 'scopes'. Some are running a regular schedule where they show their WIPs and finished projects. Others are using it to teach and inspire, for example  Joeli - the designer, podcaster and tech editor behind Joeli's Kitchen - is running a fabulous Designer Boot Camp which includes educational and inspiring daily 'scopes. Although I don't have time to take part, I've been watching the broadcasts on replay every afternoon and yesterday Joeli was talking about insecurities and the things that stop us doing things in life.  (If you read this post shortly after it's published, you may still be able to catch it here.) Watching Joeli and the comments from live viewers, I decided to (very nervously) broadcast my own first 'scope last night.

It was terrifying at the start, and I worried I'd be sitting there talking to myself, but thanks to the lovely viewers who asked questions and gave lots of hearts*, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I spent 10 minutes talking about the Rock Those Socks make-along, showing the Lowlands Bag in more detail, and showing a really useful parcel that arrived yesterday. (For those who wanted the link, this is the one I bought. A more detailed review will follow when I've used and evaluated it properly.)

WATCH LIVE: Type comments, or tap the screen to show your appreciation
So the upshot is that after so much worry and procrastination, it was actually fun! I'm planning more. It would be lovely to 'make-along' while chatting and I'm also going to a few events which might be fun to share. If you want to follow along, you'll just need to have a Twitter account and the Periscope app, or you can click here to view my feed on your desktop computer, although I can't see a way to comment or send hearts on that.

If you're already using the app and have some recommendations on who to follow, or if you would like to suggest a topic for a broadcast, please leave a comment on this post.

*Send 'hearts' by tapping the screen as you watch via the app. If you really love something, tap the screen lots! This is how the broadcaster knows you are enjoying / appreciating it, and is a massive boost - especially when they are feeling nervous.  You can do this even if you're watching the reply, so the broadcaster can see if you've enjoyed it. 
Inspired by a recent trip, the Lowlands Bag is the perfect size to hold a magazine, an iPad and /or a small craft project - see more pictures here. Using fairly straightforward techniques, it's not difficult to make, but is a little bit fiddly. If you're new to knitting colour work or in-the-round, or if you haven't lined a bag before, you will be able to do it as long as you take your time and look up any techniques you're not familiar with. Written instructions are provided in full below and you will also need the downloadable chart which is available as a free PDF via Ravelry.

You will need:

  • A copy of the colourwork chart - get it HERE
  • 1 x  Scheepjes Mini Nooodle in Black - col 000 (MC)*
  • 1 x Scheepjes Mini Nooodle in White - col 009 (CC)*
  • 8mm circular knitting needles at least 90cm / 36" long
  • Stitch marker
  • Set of plastic bag handles
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle for sewing in yarn ends
  • 60 cm x 40 cm medium weight cotton fabric (lining), extra if adding a pocket  
  • Sewing thread and needle 
  • Optional: Sewing machine for seaming the lining and adding a pocket, if required

Techniques: 

  • Judy's magic cast on
  • Knitting in the round on circular needles
  • Knit & Purl stitches
  • Basic colourwork, using a chart
  • Binding off
  • Basic sewing skills

Instructions:

  1. Using MC, cast on 60 stitches (30 sts on each side of the needles)
  2. Knit four rounds. For the first round only: work into the back of the stitches on the second needle 
  3. Work rounds 1 to 41 from the colourwork chart, ensuring to twist/carry the yarns into the sides of the bag. Note that the floats carried along the wrong side of the work will be hidden by the lining so they do not need to look perfect from the wrong side and they result in a lovely double thickness fabric which provides padding for 'portable tech'
  4. Using MC, knit four rounds
  5. Bind off 10 stitches
  6. For the handle: (K10, turn the work, p10) twice, bind off these 10 sts, leaving a 30 cm tail
  7. Rejoin yarn and bind off 20 stitches
  8. For the second handle: (K10, turn the work, p10) twice, bind off these 10 sts, leaving a 30 cm tail
  9. Bind off remaining 10 sts
  10. Sew in any yarn tails
  11. Sew the handles firmly in place using the long yarn tails, as pictured below 
(Why oh why did I lay it on the fluffy carpet before taking the pictures?!?)

Making the lining: 

  1. Measure the lining against the knit bag and cut the fabric a little bigger than the bag to allow for seaming
  2. Optional: If you wish to add a pocket (to your own specification), add it before the next step
  3. With right sides together, seam around the open side and bottom of the lining to create an open-topped pouch (make sure your magazine/ipad will fit in the lining before you sew!)
  4.  Trim off any excess fabric in the seams to reduce bulk
  5. Place the lining into the bag (still with the right sides together)
  6. Measure the excess/seam allowance around the top of the lining, and fold into place so that it sits neatly around the inside of the bag and is not visible when the bag is closed - ironing the fold will help to keep it in place
  7. Pin the lining evenly around the bag opening 
  8. Hand stitch around the lining using small even stitches
The bag is now ready to accompany you on your own adventures! 


*Scheepjes sponsored this post but the yarn choice, colours and design are all my own. When I designed the bag, I stated that Mini Nooodle yarn was only available from Dutch stockists, but am pleased to report that UK and other countries will be able to order from Wool Warehouse later this week, (I noted that their Royal Mail delivery charges to the USA are almost the same as domestic postage!!!). This yarn is great for this project - it is uniform in width, feels soft and while flexible, it does not stretch. In other words, it holds it's shape well when the bag is in use. 

Free Knitting Pattern: Lowlands Bag

Inspired by a recent trip, the Lowlands Bag is the perfect size to hold a magazine, an iPad and /or a small craft project - see more pictures here. Using fairly straightforward techniques, it's not difficult to make, but is a little bit fiddly. If you're new to knitting colour work or in-the-round, or if you haven't lined a bag before, you will be able to do it as long as you take your time and look up any techniques you're not familiar with. Written instructions are provided in full below and you will also need the downloadable chart which is available as a free PDF via Ravelry.

You will need:

  • A copy of the colourwork chart - get it HERE
  • 1 x  Scheepjes Mini Nooodle in Black - col 000 (MC)*
  • 1 x Scheepjes Mini Nooodle in White - col 009 (CC)*
  • 8mm circular knitting needles at least 90cm / 36" long
  • Stitch marker
  • Set of plastic bag handles
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle for sewing in yarn ends
  • 60 cm x 40 cm medium weight cotton fabric (lining), extra if adding a pocket  
  • Sewing thread and needle 
  • Optional: Sewing machine for seaming the lining and adding a pocket, if required

Techniques: 

  • Judy's magic cast on
  • Knitting in the round on circular needles
  • Knit & Purl stitches
  • Basic colourwork, using a chart
  • Binding off
  • Basic sewing skills

Instructions:

  1. Using MC, cast on 60 stitches (30 sts on each side of the needles)
  2. Knit four rounds. For the first round only: work into the back of the stitches on the second needle 
  3. Work rounds 1 to 41 from the colourwork chart, ensuring to twist/carry the yarns into the sides of the bag. Note that the floats carried along the wrong side of the work will be hidden by the lining so they do not need to look perfect from the wrong side and they result in a lovely double thickness fabric which provides padding for 'portable tech'
  4. Using MC, knit four rounds
  5. Bind off 10 stitches
  6. For the handle: (K10, turn the work, p10) twice, bind off these 10 sts, leaving a 30 cm tail
  7. Rejoin yarn and bind off 20 stitches
  8. For the second handle: (K10, turn the work, p10) twice, bind off these 10 sts, leaving a 30 cm tail
  9. Bind off remaining 10 sts
  10. Sew in any yarn tails
  11. Sew the handles firmly in place using the long yarn tails, as pictured below 
(Why oh why did I lay it on the fluffy carpet before taking the pictures?!?)

Making the lining: 

  1. Measure the lining against the knit bag and cut the fabric a little bigger than the bag to allow for seaming
  2. Optional: If you wish to add a pocket (to your own specification), add it before the next step
  3. With right sides together, seam around the open side and bottom of the lining to create an open-topped pouch (make sure your magazine/ipad will fit in the lining before you sew!)
  4.  Trim off any excess fabric in the seams to reduce bulk
  5. Place the lining into the bag (still with the right sides together)
  6. Measure the excess/seam allowance around the top of the lining, and fold into place so that it sits neatly around the inside of the bag and is not visible when the bag is closed - ironing the fold will help to keep it in place
  7. Pin the lining evenly around the bag opening 
  8. Hand stitch around the lining using small even stitches
The bag is now ready to accompany you on your own adventures! 


*Scheepjes sponsored this post but the yarn choice, colours and design are all my own. When I designed the bag, I stated that Mini Nooodle yarn was only available from Dutch stockists, but am pleased to report that UK and other countries will be able to order from Wool Warehouse later this week, (I noted that their Royal Mail delivery charges to the USA are almost the same as domestic postage!!!). This yarn is great for this project - it is uniform in width, feels soft and while flexible, it does not stretch. In other words, it holds it's shape well when the bag is in use. 

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