Posted by: spinnyknitter | November 25, 2014

Skye Boat Shawl and Cowl

“Billow and breeze, islands and seas Mountains of rain and sun All that was good, all that was fair… over the sea to Skye” Robert Louis Stevenson One of my favourite poems and recently adapted for the theme song to the Outlander TV series.  Oh, the romance! I designed Skye Boat Shawl first but I was so enamored with the reversible stitch pattern that I wanted a cowl too.  I love them both.   The slip stitch rib on both pieces is completely reversible and I love the texture it adds.  The lace pattern is reversible too, but does not look the same on both sides.  One side is a pretty lace motif that reminds me of buttercups… DSC_0069 And the other side, which I think is my favourite of the two, reminds me of rustic hand woven baskets… DSC_0048 This brought to mind the two sides of Claire’s life on Outlander.  It’s really a romantic idea, but let’s talk knitting. Sometimes, when designing a piece, you accidentally stumble upon the perfect yarn with the first sample.  This does not happen very often.  Most times it’s the opposite, it’s the second sample that works the best. I’ve had 2 skeins of Tosh DK in my stash forever.  I love Madelinetosh but mostly, I work with fingering weight.  And most of my stash is made up of fingering weight too.  So when I decided to make a heavier, warmer, winter shawl, I didn’t have much choice when digging through my stash.  I came across the 2 skeins and decided to give it a try.  I had always loved the color, called Copper Penny.  So onto the needles it went.  And it was perfect.  Tosh DK has a lot of body and bounce and that’s exactly what these two designs need, to really show off their stitches.  It made the ribbing pop and created amazing texture in the lace.  And it practically flew off the needles at the larger gauge. DSC_0016   DSC_0056   DSC_0047 I loved the sample and it’s the perfect size to wrap around the neck on a cold day, but I was craving a larger version.  Something that I could cocoon around myself and sink into. I found the colorway Olivia at a local shop and I immediately loved it.  And it was a new color to me, which always gives me a little thrill.  Here is the 3 skein version in Tosh DK, with generous dimensions of 64 inches wide by 28 inches deep. DSC_0027 Have I mentioned that you can make this shawl any size at all?  The main pattern is an 8 row repeat, which you may work as many times as you like, for the perfect size shawl for you. DSC_0041 The shawl is begun at one wingtip with a few stitches and then knit across to the other wingtip.  The finished shape is just slightly asymmetrical.  The stitch patterns are easy peasy and all the lace work is done on the right side rows. DSC_0053 Once the two shawl samples were complete, I just couldn’t let go of the stitch pattern.  I checked my stash for other heavier yarns and came across an old favourite, Malabrigo Rios.  This yarn has similar properties to Tosh DK and I thought it would work for a cowl. So next on the needles went a 2 skein cowl using the colorway Teal Feather.  I ran the ribbing along the top edge of the cowl, to add some subtle neck shaping. DSC_0029 It worked out great and I loved the cowl too.  But I started wondering what a smaller version would be like.  Something I could even wear indoors on a cold and drafty winter day.   Or under my coat on a walk.  I decided to see if I could make a small version using just one skein of Tosh Dk. I loved the idea of turning a single skein into something useful.  And it would work up quickly, what a great idea for gifts. This time I selected the Tosh DK in the colorway Betty Draper’s Blues.  I’m a huge fan of the TV series Mad men, whose character Betty Draper wears this shade of blue quite often.  I played with the width a bit, making it 2 inches narrower, and I was able to get 26 inches in length, before blocking, which turned out to be perfect for the size I had in mind. DSC_0002 The cowl is begun with a provisional cast on, but it’s the easiest provisional cast on, in my opinion.  It’s done with a crochet hook (but you don’t need to know how to crochet!) and your stitches go right onto the needle using waste yarn.  Cut your waste yarn, begin your beautiful yarn and you are started. I’m a big fan of Knit Purl Hunter videos on youtube.  She is awesome at explaining everything step by step and her videos are clear and concise.  If I’m searching for a technique, I always turn to her channel first, as I know I will get a quality video.  She very generously agreed to share her video on the crochet cast on with us. Easy right?  Once the length of your cowl has been knit, it’s quick to join the two ends together using the three-needle bind off.  Knit Purl Hunter has a video on that too.  Check out her awesome website, with all her videos here. I really like working cowls lengthwise.  For some reason, it seems to go faster when the rows are short.  And best of all, you can try on the cowl or even block it, while still on the needles.  No guess work on how long it will be in the end.  I love that. Like the shawl, it’s very simple to change up the size of the cowl, to suit your preferences.  Change the depth by adding or subtracting stitches, in multiples of 4.  And to change the circumference, simply knit your piece longer or shorter than directed.  If you are not sure what length you’d like, block it on the needles, as I often do, to get it just right. DSC_0016 This has been a very long post, so I will end now by saying a big thank you to Teresa for test knitting for me.

The two patterns, Skye Boat Shawl and Skye Boat Cowl are for sale on Ravelry beginning today.  I’m running a special promotion until midnight Friday November 28th.  Purchase one the Skye Boat patterns and receive the other one free.  Details on the pattern pages on Ravelry. DSC_0040

Posted by: spinnyknitter | September 30, 2014

Knitting in Paradise

Exciting news!  I will be teaching at a Knitting Retreat in Spring 2015 in Burmuda!  The Black Purl Yarn Shop is holding their first Knitting Retreat, Knitting in Paradise, next May and I’ll be there, along with co-teacher, Norah Gaughan.  Norah will be giving classes in cables, and I’ll be doing lace classes.  I’ve been trying to figure out how I can teach my classes AND take all of Norah’s classes, I’m a huge fan of her’s.   

I’ll be teaching four lace classes at the retreat.  There will be a Blocking and Finishing Lace class, as well as classes geared to all level of lace knitters.  I’ll update you with more class details later on.

If you register for the retreat before December 31, 2014, you will receive a substantial discount on the price.  So if you are interested in joining us, keep that in mind.

Psst, there also might be a new design in the works, inspired by the beauty that is Burmuda.  But don’t tell anyone…


Posted by: spinnyknitter | September 26, 2014

Three Skeins or Less

I designed a shawl last year for Tanis Gray to include in her book Three Skeins or Less Fresh Knitted Accessories.  I’m excited to show you the book and the shawl!

3 Skeins or Less - jacket art

3 Skeins or Less By Tanis Gray Interweave/F+W; $24.99

This is a really versatile collection of accessories that would make beautiful gifts, to others or to yourself.   And it might help reduce your stash too.

My design in the book, Leeside Shawl is slightly asymmetrical in shape and design but very simple to knit. It is cast on at one wing tip with a few stitches and simply knit into a widening triangle. The tiny lace border then turns the corner and becomes a sideways bind off. This shawl is simple to enlarge if you have extra yarn by repeating the last chart as many times as desired.

The yarn I used was Hazel Knits Artisanal sock in the colorway beach glass.  This yarn is wonderful to work with and the colour  is so beautiful!  It really did remind me of the beach and this helped to inspire the name of the piece.  This was my first time using this yarn and I’m now definitely a fan.  I can’t wait to work with more of those lush colourways.


Tanis was awesome to work with and it was so much fun to see my design come to life in the pages of an Interweave book.  I’ve been a reader of Interweave books and magazines for a very long time, so it’s especially thrilling to me to have a design published with them.


Posted by: spinnyknitter | September 23, 2014

Craftsy Kits

Hi everyone.  As we head into fall today, it seems everyone is gearing up for knitting projects.  I just wanted to let you know that I have some kits available over on Craftsy.  The kits come complete with a copy of my pattern and the same yarn that I used to design the project, so no guess work required.

The kits available are Woodsie GlovesSunshadow Tam and GlovesEast Gable ShawlVigneto Shawl, and Cedar Grove Shawl Check them out, as well as all the other awesome kits available.

Have you tried a Craftsy class yet?  I took Spinning dyed Fibers over the summer and it reignited my passion for spinning.


Happy fall knitting!

Posted by: spinnyknitter | July 29, 2014

Breakwater Shawl

I hope your summer is going along swimmingly.  Here we are near the end of July, which in my part of the world means half way through summer.  Our summer started out wet and cold but has now become warm and sunny and I try to be outside as much as possible.

I have a new pattern for you today, the Breakwater Shawl, shown here in Swan’s Island Natural Colors Merino Fingering.  This is organic merino and a real pleasure to knit with.  And in this sunny shade of green, it seemed perfect for summer.



The pattern is slightly asymmetrical in shape and design and features a beautful textural lace pattern forming the body of the shawl with a mirror image border.  It is cast on at one wing tip with a few stitches and then simply knit into a widening triangle.





The lace has patterning on the right side only and the size is very easily adjustable to the yardage available, making for stress free summer knitting.

I used a very gentle hand when blocking because I wanted to preserve the texture of the lace.




I’m also thinking down the road and imagining this worn as a cowl in the fall, wrapped around my neck and shoulders.


Thank you to Teresa for test knitting the pattern for me.  I really appreciate her being so generous with her time!

Breakwater Shawl is available in my pattern shop on Ravelry.


Posted by: spinnyknitter | June 30, 2014

Summer Shawl Pattern Sale

Happy summer knitting, everyone!  I thought July would be the perfect month to offer a sale on my shawl patterns.  What better time to knit a little lace or colorwork than on a warm summer day or evening.  This is not the time to have blankets or bulky sweaters in your lap as you work.  These little pieces will keep you cool and happily knitting. I’ve put all the eligible patterns into a bundle in my pattern shop on Ravelry to keep things simple – here’s the link to the Summer Shawl pattern Sale on Ravelry.

Buy 3 of my patterns at the regular price and receive a 4th one free.  You must place all 4 of the patterns into your cart before checking out.  No coupon code is required.  At checkout, it will automatically deduct the price of one pattern from your total. Here is a little look at some of my patterns, happy knitting everyone!

Harmony   Sonetto   Vigneto     Frutteto   LeafPress   SummerMoon

Posted by: spinnyknitter | June 6, 2014

Estonian Dream Shawl

I am very happy to be publishing my newest pattern today – Estonian Dream Shawl. This design was inspired by the beautiful lace stitches of Estonian knitting.  I have several books on the subject and love the designs and the stories behind the patterns.  One stitch pattern in particular has always caught my eye and it finally inspired this shawl design.  The Estonian Willow Leaf stitch pattern is so beautiful and appears to flow across the fabric in such graceful lines.  I love it both with the nupps, for the incredible texture and without nupps, for the simplicity.

I knew I wanted to create an asymmetrical shawl and I wanted the leaves to flow out of the few cast on stitches.  But I had no idea how difficult that would be to accomplish.  I can’t even tell you how many swatches I knit, how much graph paper I used and how much time was spent accomplishing this.  I swatched and juggled increases and decreases and played a little dance with the stitches every evening for several weeks before I had something I was happy with.  Below is a photo of the beginning of shawl.

It looks quite innocent, doesn’t it?  It’s delicate little stitches don’t reveal a thing!  But all is forgiven now, I love this little triangle of lace and I’m quite pleased that I didn’t give up on it.

Here is a look at the rest of the Estonian Dream Shawl, photos taken on a warm and sunny spring day here on the west coast.







I was just finishing up my first prototype of the design, when Kristin, over at Voolenvine Yarns,  very generously sent me a skein of her Lush yarn to try.  The timing was perfect and the color just made me happy every time I looked at it.  It reminded me of gorgeous blue skies, with a hint of lavender that echoed the flowers in my spring garden.  I thought it would be perfect for the sample for the pattern and immediately cast on.  I love how it looks in the lace and the wedge of stocking stitch shows off the many hints of color in this yarn.  Thank you, Kristin!





One skein of fingering weight wool or wool blend is all you need to make your own Estonian Dream Shawl.  The size shown is 45″ wingspan and 20″ depth, making it more of a shawlette size but the pattern is easily adjustable to the yardage available, allowing you to knit any size desired.  I want to make myself a larger version, using 2 skeins, to wrap around myself on cool summer evenings.

The lace pattern is easier than it looks with patterning only on right side rows, giving you those lovely rest rows on the wrong side.

I hope you are enjoying some lovely spring weather and maybe even sitting in the sun (or shade) and knitting.  Estonian Dream Shawl is available for purchase on Ravelry.  I am also running a special promotion  June 6 through 8th, 2014 to go along with the pattern release.  Check it out at the same link.

Posted by: spinnyknitter | March 10, 2014

Dovetail Shawl

This new design has been a long time coming…I started it way back in November and had to put it down several times for various reasons but I’m really happy to be able to publish this design finally…


Dovetail Shawl is cast on at one wing tip with a few stitches, and then simply knit into a widening triangle for a slightly asymmetrical shape.  The color work is made easy by the simple slip stitch pattern and the use of two different colorways of self striping yarn.  The pattern is quick to memorize and the shifting colors keep the work interesting.  The size is easily adjustable to the yardage available, allowing you to knit a scarf, a shawl, or any size desired.


This sample is knit using Kauni 8/2 Effektgarn in the colorways EQ and ET.  I have had both colorways in my stash forever and I’m so pleased that I finally used them.  The ET colorway actually is grey/black/purple, and I really only wanted the grey/black for a nice neutral background to the rainbow colorway.  So, I just eliminated the purple as I knit along.  I used black/grey then reversed direction to grey/black and so on so the colors shifted subtly.  I wound my ball into a centre pull ball using my ball winder and it was much easier to see the colors.  The repeats on this yarn are miles long so it gives you the opportunity to play a bit with the color placement.  If the color that you want next is not coming along fast enough, simply hurry it along by cutting out a section of the color.


The version shown here: Blocked measurements 60″ across by 27″ deep. I used approximately 75 grams of each colorway or approximately 300m/328yd of each colorway for the size shown.

The yarn is lovely but a bit scratchy while knitting.  But when I finished, I gave it a long soak in some Eucalan before blocking.  It transformed into this lighter than air, soft but sturdy wrap with incredible drape and stitch definition.

I also made two other versions using Noro Silk Garden Sock.  Lovely colors, both mixed with the natural for the contrast color.  I love how both colorways shift subtly at intervals.  It makes the knitting quite addictive!


The colorwork pattern is slip stitch colorwork.  You won’t believe how easy this is, if you can knit two color alternating stripes, you can knit this! Two different colorways of self striping yarn are alternated every second row, you are only working with one color per row. The color pattern is created using slipped stitches, as simple as it sounds: slip one stitch purlwise from the left needle to the right needle. Stitches used for the colorwork: knit, purl and slip.


This pattern was so addictive that I’m still dreaming of other combinations.  Imagine it in this yarn!  Or a self striping with a solid, or a gradient yarn with a self striping or solid.  I entertain myself by dreaming up new combos…

I’d like to thank Teresa for test knitting this pattern for me.  I can’t wait to see her photographs!

Check out the pattern page on Ravelry for more details about yarn selection, color choices and yardage requirements – Dovetail Shawl


Posted by: spinnyknitter | November 27, 2013

Lowena Cardigan

Lowena is a Cornish name meaning joy.

Lowena Cardigan is a top down child’s sweater featuring seed stitch bands and pretty lace panels up each side of the front.


It has a roomy, comfortable fit and is easily customizable for sleeve and body length.  Size range is 2, [4, 6, 8] for a finished garment chest measurement of 24, [26, 28, 30] inches.

I would recommend choosing the size to fit the body of your child and then adjusting the length of the sleeves and/or body for a truly custom fitted knit.  One of my favourite things about top down sweaters is the ability to try it on as you go.  So if you have your child handy it will be a piece of cake to get a superb fit.

My little model loves her top down, it’s so comfortable when running and playing.   She can have fun without any seams to rub or constrict.



The yarn I’ve chosen for this project is Tosh Merino DK in the colorway Flashdance.  All the little girls in my life love pink and purple.  The yarn is lovely and soft and also practical as it is a superwash.

I knit by alternating 2 skeins throughout the sweater and I’m really happy with the color distribution.  I’m so glad that I did this, no crazy pooling in sight, and really, it’s not that difficult to do.  A must I think, for hand dyed yarns to really show off their beauty.

I had some wonderful test knitters on this pattern.  You can check out all the cuteness over on their project pages on Ravelry, but here’s a little sneak peak -

Coping knit up this adorable version in size two.  The solid color really makes the lace detail pop.


Travellers08 made this super cute version, also a size 2.  Don’t you love the buttons??

And MadeleineL whipped up this loveliness in size 6.  Gorgeous, yes??

I was very lucky to have these awesome test knitters and I want them to know how much I appreciate their efforts!  And also to Diane, who has been proofing my patterns and patiently correcting my mangled english for a while now.  Thanks so much, ladies!

This pattern also features a really great buttonhole technique that I found and adapted from The Principles of Knitting.  For small buttonholes I have always used the YO, K2Tog method and while easy to execute, I was never really happy with how they would stretch out after being used for awhile.  Then I came across this buttonhole.  The directions were for stocking stitch so I adapted it to fit my seed stitch borders and I love it.  It’s not difficult but a bit more involved than the YO, K2Tog, but so worth the little extra effort.

Lowena Cardigan is available for purchase on Ravelry.  Do you have a little girl in your life who would like one?

Posted by: spinnyknitter | October 2, 2013

Eccentric Cowl

I love starting the month off with a new pattern!  Here is Eccentric Cowl available in my pattern shop on Ravelry.

Eccentric cowl is knit in the round with no seams.  I have designed it in two sizes but really, you could make any size you’d like, directions are included in the pattern.

I wanted to design a cowl that would have drape and be warm but without a lot of bulk.  So I turned to my favourite weight of yarn – fingering weight.  This weight also makes up a huge part of my stash so I didn’t have to go far for yarn.

The small size is a nice single loop of warmth around your neck.  Shown here in Wollmeise Pure Merino in one of the “we’re different” oranges that I scored from their website.  This seems like the perfect color for fall, it’s such a vibrant orange.


When you get tired of wearing it as a cowl, it may also be worn as a small scarf which could be tucked inside your coat on a really cold day.


When I first started knitting the large size, i thought I had made it too large.  But now it is finished and blocked I am so in love with the size!  Shown here in Tosh Merino Light in the colorway Composition Book Grey, 2 skeins.  Loop it around the neck twice with a twist for easy drape and warmth.


You could also wear it with the tube flat (2 layers) in a variety of other eccentric ways.  Shown here with the neck opening around the shoulders.



And folded in half again and worn as a cozy scarf.

Or looped around the neck in many different configurations.


Pull it on over the shoulders.  Here’s a look at how large the tube really is!


Keep it on as above but use your favourite shawl pin to come up with some more ways to wear it.



I think this might be my favourite thing to wear this winter.  I’m so glad that I made it in this lovely grey neutral that will go with everything but I’m already thinking of a second version in greens or browns.

The lace pattern is simple to work and every second round is a plain knit round, so it knits up quite quickly considering the size.  And the pattern includes both charts and written instructions for the lace.

I hope you love it as much as I do!  Eccentric Cowl available today on Ravelry.

Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 76 other followers