by Sarah A

Starwars Day Sale

May 4, 2014 in Sales by Sarah A

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May the Fourth be with you!

Today is Starwars day (May 4th) and I have been busy updating my Etsy shop with all my patterns.

 

All patterns are now available as direct PDF downloads which is great as you will receive your pattern straight away!

To celebrate I am offering a sale of 20% on my Etsy listings only with the code STARWARSDAYSALE until the 11th May.

The force is strong with this one.

by Sarah A

Handlebar Hands & Cadence Cowl

March 27, 2014 in Cadence Cowl, Handlebar Hands, patterns by Sarah A

Today marks a very special day – 100 days to go until the Tour de France comes to Yorkshire! I’m very excited as the cycle race will pass very close to where I live and I plan to walk to Holme Moss to watch the race come through.

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It seems the perfect timing to introduce my two new crochet patterns – Handlebar Hands and Cadence Cowl. Both of these patterns have a cycling theme and were inspired into being after the release of my Helmet Head pattern in the Bespoke book – a whole book of cycling related designs inspired by the Tour de Yorkshire as it is locally known.

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I love matching sets and found Helmet Head really fun to crochet so I just had to design a matching cowl and mitten set. All three of these designs are suitable for beginner crocheters as they use only a few stitches and have very little shaping involved. I’m just in love with the striping pattern and especially in these bright colours of Rowan Tweed that are all named after local places. Great to brighten up my outfits as spring arrives!

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Cadence cowl is crocheted in the round and it can be made shorter or longer, or wider or thinner as required by adding or subtracting rows  or stitches from the pattern. I like it at this length though as it can be comfortably wrapped around the neck twice as a very warm cowl or to keep it out of the way whilst cycling, or draped long and loose as an infinity scarf.

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The Handlebar Hands can be made as fingerless mitts or full mittens and instructions are included for both. They come in three sizes to fit small, medium or large hands. They are unisex, just like Helmet Head and can be made more ‘manly’ by changing the colours of the yarn. I like the fingerless ones best for cycling with as I can use my fingers to ring the bell on my bike, but having a full mitten is great in cold weather.

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The photos were taken by my dad, Alan Alderson and my sister Lucy kindly modeled for the photos. We had great fun on the photo shoot although it nearly was a disaster. I’ve learnt that you should not ask models to cycle alongside a canal without their glasses on. Disaster was narrowly diverted by catching Lucy before she fell into the water! She has forgiven me (I think).

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Both patterns are available in my Ravelry shop and on this website. For the next 100 days both patterns are available for 50% off their normal price to celebrate le Tour Yorkshire. Use the code LETOURYORKSHIRE to activate this offer when paying!

by Sarah A

Kali on Knitty.com

March 21, 2014 in patterns by Sarah A

 

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This month has been very exciting as I have had a pattern published on Knitty.com. Kali is a sleeveless top that is great for spring, summer and autumn.

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The inspiration for Kali came from wanting to knit something that was bright and colourful that used a simple slip stitch to create a pattern that looks more complicated than it really is. The pattern reminds me of visiting sweet shops with rows of jars that were filled with brightly coloured sweets that I visited when staying with my grandparents or on holiday. I have always had a sweet tooth and the sherbet filled flying saucers were one of my favourites, along with the pink shrimp or yellow bananas, milk bottles or gummy bears.

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The pattern is knitted flat in two pieces. It starts with a corrugated garter stitch rib pattern. The main body of the garment is a slip stitch pattern that is easy to do and the knitting just flies by.

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The armholes and neck are finished off by the same corrugated garter stitch rib. There is a cute contrasting stripe in both the ribbing and at the bottom of the vest that adds just a splash more colour.

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Kali can be worn as a layering vest over t-shirts, long sleeved tops or shirts in spring or autumn, or on its own as a sleeveless top in summer. The pink and grey sample is knitted in Debbie Bliss 4-ply Rialto which is 100% wool and the yellow and red sample is knitted in Rowan Cotton Glace for a more summery top.

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Kali is in the 2014 spring and summer issue of Knitty.com which means the pattern is available for free! Knitty is an online magazine that has great articles as well as interesting patterns. I often use it for their really easy to follow tutorials and I plan to try some of their spinning techniques soon.

I hope you enjoy knitting this cute top!

by Sarah A

Tunisian Crochet

February 21, 2014 in Projects by Sarah A

Tunisian Crochet SamplesTunisian crochet techniques was the theme of the February meeting of the Huddersfield Knit and Crochet guild meeting. We had a short talk on the history of Tunisian crochet before learning how to do different stitches with the help of Fiona Mannifield.

For those who have not seen it before, Tunisian crochet uses a crochet hook that has a very long handle and no hand grip. The stitches were all formed by picking up a row of stitches onto the hook and then casting them off. The different stitches are made by changing the way the stitches are picked up. It creates a very dense fabric that would be warm but use much more yarn than normal crochet.

My Tunisian crochet hook collection

I have 3 hooks in my collection, all of which I inherited. All the samples I made with the smallest hook (it appears to be a size 4mm – there is no marking on any of them to let me know) and Shilasdair organic cotton (100% cotton). For each sample I cast on 10 stitches so I could see the change in gauge with the different stitches. I also had an idea that  I could use these little squares as eco-friendly cleaner pads. I’ve made cotton pads before but I go through them so quickly that having a larger supply will be useful.

This first sample is the simple tunisian stitch. This creates a square stitch with a vertical loop. The stitches are apparently square so we saw examples from the guild collection of cushion covers in simple stitch with a cross stitch pattern embroidered onto it. It was the easiest of stitches and probably my favourite.

Simple Tunisian Stitch

Then we tried the knit stitch. This gives the appearance of knitting but feels much denser.

Knitting Tunisian Stitch

The next pattern was the crossed stitch. This was a little more tricky as the hook has to twist round to do the second stitch in each pair but gives a pretty pattern with little crosses between rows.

Crossed tunisian stitch

We then tried a variation on the crossed stitch – the biased crossed stitch. This alternates rows of crossed stitch with a row of 1 simple stitch, crossed stitch to 1 stitch before end and then 1 simple stitch. This gives a diagonal line across the fabric.

Biased Tunisian Stitch

Finally I was shown the purl stitch which was a little tricky to get the hang of to begin with as the hook goes into the vertical bar back to front but it does create a purl ‘bump’ on the fabric and repeating this gives the look of reverse stocking stitch.

Purl Tunisian stitch

Feeling ‘hooked’ on Tunisian crochet (pun intended) and now rather confident with my new Tunisian crochet skills I then tackled a couple of stitch patterns in a stitch dictionary I own. The first was a Tunisian stitch double which involved making a simple stitch and then doing a double crochet (single if in US) after each stitch was made. This made a slightly less thick fabric that has almost a woven appearance.

Tunisian stitch double

Finally I tried the plain Tunisian stitch. This was a very easy stitch and felt more like crochet but it gives lots of vertical bars.

Plain Tunisian stitch

I’m now looking at easy patterns on Ravelry that I might give a try. I’ve found this Generic Tunisian Crocheted Computer Sleeve that looks quite cool, but does mean I now need to learn to use multiple colours and manage it in the round. Perhaps a bit more practice is needed.

by Sarah A

First Ravellenics Project

February 15, 2014 in Projects, Ravelry by Sarah A

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Last friday saw the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. I’m a big fan of the winter olympics and always get caught up in the excitement of the events and wish I could be there cheering on Team GB.  This years olympics has many serious human rights issues that deserve just as much attention as the event itself and I have joined in with Ravellenics (a Ravelry event that takes place at the same time as the olympics) in support of those who are affected by these issues. The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Russia are currently subject to terrifying levels of persecution, discrimination and abuse. It needs to stop. Now.

My first Ravellenics project is Slalom Slipstream socks. This pattern has intrigued me for a while and been sitting in my queue, just waiting for a time where I can knit for myself.

The pattern is Slipstream by Stephanie McIntosh. It features slip stitch cables and mock cables that wind around the ankle and foot in a very pleasing way.

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I cast these on at the start of the opening ceremony and I finished them on friday evening – so just over a week which is probably a record for me. I rarely get so much tv time to just sit and knit and I have enjoyed being able to concentrate on just one project for me.

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I’m so pleased with how they have turned out. I had a couple of issues with the charts (partly because I was not observant enough to notice that the charts are listed in the opposite order to the pattern instructions) and because there are a few mistakes, but overall these are great socks and look fabulous.

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The yarn is Bouncy Extra by Laal Bear in colourway Virginia Stocks. I chose it for its rainbow colours (as support for LGBT issues) and because this pattern just lends itself to multicoloured yarn. The slip stitch cables show off the colours really well. It has been in my stash for a while and I’m pleased I found such a good project for it.

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My ravelry project page can be found here: Slalom Slipstream.

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My next project, cast on already is going to be a super chunky sweater so hopefully I can get it done, I have just over a week to complete it. It’s a good excuse to stay in out of the terrible weather we are having at the moment, watch the olympics and knit!

by Sarah A

Helmet Head in Bespoke

February 7, 2014 in Helmet Head, patterns, Yarn Shop by Sarah A

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This week I received my copy of Bespoke – a beautiful book of knitting and crochet patterns inspired by all things bicycle.

What I am the most excited about though is seeing my first book published pattern – Helmet Head!

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This is a simple slouchy beanie that is crocheted from 3 different colours of DK weight yarn to produce a kaleidoscope of colours. It is easy enough for beginner crocheters to tackle and looks great with a variety of hairstyles.

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This hat was born the problem I always seem to have after I have been cycling – bike helmet hair! I wear a helmet as I have seen so many cyclist lives saved by wearing one when I worked in A&E. They really do prevent broken skulls. The trouble is, once I have taken off my helmet, I then have horrible hair for the rest of the day. This simple beanie fits in my pocket and can be taken out and worn to cover up my helmet head.

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It looks so fab, I have been wearing it out and about – I wore Helmet Head in Dusseldorf before sending it off to be included in Bespoke.

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It also goes really well with Woodrup – the gorgeous cardigan modelled here with my Helmet Head.

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Bespoke features 10 patterns in total and is inspired by the tour de France coming to Yorkshire this year. Woodrup is a colourwork yoke cardigan designed by Ann Kingstone with really cute applied i-cord edgings. Then there is Picycle, a circular lace shawl by Karina Westermann which looks beautifully soft. Malliot jaune is a jumper that is sized to fit children, women and men by Alison Moreton. Hercules is a men’s jumper by Sarah Hatton that has a wonderful cable pattern reminiscent of tyre tracks, a Courier felted messenger bag by Jo Spreckley and Frame Mitts by Rachel Coopley which manage to look snug and pretty at the same time. For those with kids there are the Chop Chop handlebar streamers by Verity Britton (or big kids like me that really want to make these for my bike!). The crochet patterns include Peachy, a bike seat cover by Ruby McGrath, Wickerton, a cute stripy bicycle basket with a pretty flower by Julie Glaze and my Helmet Head.

Bespoke is a really fun collection of patterns and it is hard to know what to make first! So if you love your bike or know someone who does, or just love cute and pretty accessories, it is well worth a look. I’m really excited about the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire and plan to wear a few of these designs when I go to watch the race pass through my area.

I will be releasing matching mittens and cowl for Helmet Head soon so you can have a matching set (I love having matching accessories). Helmet Head is only available in Bespoke which can be purchased from Baa Ram Ewe.

by Sarah A

Lantern making for Imbolc

January 31, 2014 in Wessenden Valley by Sarah A

This weekend is Imbolc which marks the coming of spring – at last! My favourite way of celebrating is to attend the Imbolc Fire Festival in Marsden which takes place tomorrow (Saturday 1st February 2014). This is a fantastic evening of entertainment with a procession of Druids to the fire display, then a great display and finally a battle between Jack Frost and the Green Man – the Green Man wins every time of course (well he nearly didn’t in the 2012 festival – Jack Frost put up a huge snow fight!). There’s fireworks and musicians. It is a really fab event and I recommend coming to watch – even if the weather is awful!

In 2012 it really was very snowy:

Snow Storm!

These are the photos I took of the fire festival and Jack Frost fighting the Green Man:

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The whole event is run on community donations. There will be collections on the night but there is also a page to donate to keep this wonderful event running. For more information about this years festival checkout the facebook page.

This year I have been joining in the fun of making lanterns to light the path of the procession. I decided to make an elder sign lantern (to keep the Great Old Ones away from the event).

It began with a 5 pointed star:

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A second 5 pointed star was made to match the first:

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The two stars were taped together at each point. Then cross braces were fitted between the two stars at the 5 cross overs of the central pentagon:

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We then made an ‘X’ through the centre of the star to tie a jam jar lid to (for the light to stick to):

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The whole star was then covered in tissue paper that was covered in PVA glue. This part was really sticky and messy and fun:

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Finally the elder sign symbols were cut out of coloured tissue paper and stuck in the centre. Voila! An elder sign lantern. I can’t wait to see it lit!

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It looked so good we then decided to make one twice as large! This one came out nearly as big as me :)

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by Sarah A

Fair isle guild meeting

January 20, 2014 in Textile heritage, Uncategorized by Sarah A

Last Thursday it was the monthly Huddersfield Knitting & Crochet guild meeting at Brew cafe and this time the theme was fair isle knits. We are lucky to be able to see some of the wonderful guild collection at our meetings.

We started with an interesting talk on the history of fair isle from Barbara. Then the guild collection came out and was gently handled with white cotton gloves.

I love the colours and shape of this 1940′s short sleeve sweater:

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This one caught my eye as there are much fewer colours than many fair isles have, but it is still very pretty:

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The big hits of the evening were these little baby jumpers. They have obviously been made for their intended recipients with lots of loving care. The detailing is amazing and the patterns so intricate.

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Then we had a lovely show & tell with members bringing along their own knits and designs. It’s great to see all the colour combinations, variation in styles and ideas.

I’m now wanting to design & knit my own fair isle jumper!

 

 

 

by Sarah A

Blowing away the cobwebs

January 17, 2014 in Walking, Wessenden Valley by Sarah A

Wessenden Valley

Last weekend I was desperate for some fresh air having worked all the weekend before and not able to escape the four walls of my house. I find hiking is great for blowing the cobwebs out of my mind, making me feel human again and gives me that lovely tired feeling of having exerted myself in the outdoors, rather than the more horrible tired feeling of concentrating at a computer screen for too many hours.

This was only meant to be a short walk to refresh the senses but turned into an 8 mile hike. Thankfully the weather was kind and did not rain until we got home.

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The Wessenden Valley has so many beautiful walking opportunities, it is sometimes hard to choose which way to go. This time we decided to to up the valley to the Pennine way. It is a bit of a steep climb of stairs up the side of the Butterley reservoir but worth it to see the beautiful Victorian architecture, and another short sharp climb to the Pennine Way, it is then easy walking around the side of the hill.

Blake Clough

There are beautiful views down the Wessenden Valley all the way.

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There is one tricky section as you cross Blake Clough with stepping stones…. I managed not to fall in! (I have a tendency to do that – I once fell into the River Wharfe when crossing the stepping stones at Bolton Abbey)

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After going up the Wessenden Valley a bit further, we turned back and followed the high path above the Valley back to the road and to the village.

This is a really pleasant, mostly easy walk that is great for a winter afternoon as it does not take too long to do, but you feel like you have been out in the wild and all those cobwebs are blown away.

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by Sarah A

Thought Bubble workshops 2013

November 21, 2013 in workshops by Sarah A

Its that most wonderful time of the year again – Thought Bubble Festival week!

Thought bubble is a fantastic comic festival that takes place in Leeds every November. Each year there are film screenings, workshops, comics forums, competitions and exhibitions and it all finishes in a massive comic convention on the 23rd and 24th November in the Royal Armouries, Leeds.

Last year I ran two workshops that were a great success. The learn to knit a zombie workshop had people creating little Zombie Charlie‘s and the learn to crochet Cthulhu workshop had some great Cthulhu amigurumi‘s being made.

This year the learn to crochet workshop had 10 people attend and make little voodoo doll amigurumi’s.

Voodoo doll workshop kits

The room was very quiet while people were concentrating but near the end you could see the little voodoo dolls begin to take shape – always my favourite part! Everyone did amazingly well as most people were complete beginners and it is a lot to learn in just 2 hours.

Crochet voodoo doll workshop

I then had 14 people attend the learn to knit a vampire bat session the next day.

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Thank you to those who came for both workshops – it is always nice to see people return. I am always amazed at how quickly some people pick up new skills and the complete beginners were all knitting like whizzes at the end of the 2 hours, with some bats nearly finished.

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I had a great time at these workshops and thank you for the lovely feedback I received. Watching people learn a new skill and seeing the joy on their faces as they create something new is always fun. As requested, I have created a new page on my website with details of my upcoming workshops and how to book me to teach.

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A huge thank you to Thought Bubble Festival for sponsoring these events. Kits for the voodoo crochet and knitted vampire bats will be on sale this weekend, as well as Cthulhu amigurumi and Knitted Zombies at the Thought Bubble Festival. I hope to be back teaching next year :)