June 24, 2013

Warm Woollen Mittens

Is it 'woollen' or 'woolen'? I don't know. Either way, it's definitely time to be wearing them. I've never been much of mitten knitter. I'm not sure why. 

So I asked on Facebook for some pattern suggestions, and here's what was suggested:


Susie Rogers Reading Mitts by Susie Rogers (free!)


Birdies Mitts by Julia Davies (free pattern!)


Rainbow Kid Mittens by Emilie Williams (free pattern!)


Snap Dragon Flip-top Mitts by Ysolda Teague


And one person requested an image of kittens in mittens, so how about kittens on mittens?

Meow Mitts by Tiny Owl Knits


Happy knitting!

xx Tash

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June 13, 2013

Super Simple Sock Pattern

The pdf pattern is now available


After having a surprisingly tricky time finding a basic sock pattern for new sock knitters, we’ve written up our own. Knit from the cuff down, with no fussy details, this is a great sock for beginners and experienced sock knitters alike. The sample in the photos was striped – we used 2 skeins of Knitsch Sock ‘Caboose’ and one of ‘Plain & Simple’. Caboose was used for the cuff, heel and toe, and striped every 2 rows in the body of the sock with Plain & Simple. The pattern uses a short row heel – so don’t fret when it comes to the heel turn and you aren’t knitting across all of the stitches. By the end of this pattern section all stitches will be taken care of. You can find a pdf of the pattern and extra patterns notes on Ravelry

Yarn: 2 skeins of Knitsch Sock or 100g of sock yarn

Needles: 2.50mm 80cm fixed circular, or 2.50mm double pointed needles

Sizes: Small (medium, large, X-large)

Gauge: 30 sts x 44 rows = 10cm


CO - cast on
– knit
p – purl
ssk – slip, slip, knit
k2tog – knit two stitches together
p2tog – purl two stitches together
sl – slip the stitch from the left hand needle to the right needle without knitting



CO 60 (64, 68, 72) stitches Set up row: k2, p2, repeat until end next row: k2, p2, repeat until end. Join in the round, being careful not to twist. Place a marker to mark the beginning of the round. Split the number or stitches evenly across 2 needles (the magic loop using the circular needle) or 4 needles (if using double pointed needles).

Next row: k2, p2, repeat until end repeat rib pattern until cuff measures 2.5cm

Next row: knit Work in stocking stitch until leg measures approx 17cm or is desired length.


Heel flap: This section is worked flat over 30 (32, 34, 36) stiches. The other half of the stitches are held on the cable of your circular needle or on two dpns and are not knit at all until the heel section is completed. You will be turning your work as this part is knit flat rather than in the round.

Next row starting from marker: *sl1, k1, repeat from * 14 (15, 16, 17) more times 30 (32, 34, 36) stitches have been worked

Next row: turn work, *sl1, p to end

Next row: sl1, k2, *sl1, k1, repeat from * to end

Next row: sl1, p to end

Repeat these four rows 6 (7, 8, 9) more times, or until heel flap is length required. End on a purl row.


Heel turn: The heel turn is the bit that gets most people unstuck. As long as you follow the instructions word for word, and don’t worry about the stitches you aren’t knitting, it’ll make sense in the end.

Row 1: (right side of work) sl1, k16 (18, 18, 20), ssk, k1, turn work row 2: (wrong side of work) sl1, p5 (7, 5, 7), p2tog, p1, turn row 3: sl1, k to 1 st before gap, ssk (1 st from each side of gap), k1, turn work row 4: sl1, p to 1 st before gap, p2tog (1 st from each side of gap), p1, turn

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all stitches have been worked. 18 (20, 20, 22) sts remain.

Knit back along the heel stitches, on the right side of your work. 

Gusset: In this section the stitches along the side of the heel flap are picked up and knit, the top of the foot is now knit, the stitches down the other side of the heel flap are picked up and knit, and the sole of the foot is also worked.

Next row: Pick up and knit 14 (15, 17, 19) stitches along the heel flap, knit 30 (32, 34, 36), pick up and knit 14 (15, 17, 19) stitches along the heel flap, k9 (10, 10, 11), place new beginning of round marker.

Row 1: 23 (25, 27, 30) sts, k2tog, k30 (32, 34, 36), ssk, k to end of round Row 2: knit all sts

Repeat these two rows, knitting 1 less stitch before each k2tog on each repeat of row 1. Continue until 60 (64, 68, 72) stitches remain.

Knit in the round until the foot section reaches where your toes start (what I fondly refer to as ‘toe cleavage’).

Toe decreases: Making a space for your toes!

Row 1: k12 (13, 14, 15), k2tog, k1, place marker, k1, ssk, k24 (26, 28. 30) k2tog, k1, place marker, k1, ssk, k to end Row 2: knit Row 3: k to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1, slip marker, k1, ssk, k to 3 sts before marker, k2tog, k1, slip marker, k1, ssk, knit to end.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 four more times.

Repeat row 3 until 30 (32, 34, 36) stitches remain. The beginning of round marker should be in the centre of the sole stitches. Break yarn and seam live stitches together using kitchener stitch.

If you like, you can wash and block your socks by laying them flat to dry. I’m usually much too impatient for this and put them on immediately. Enjoy! If you have any questions, please email

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June 12, 2013

Pattern round up: for the bebes

A pretty common scenario for us is to have mums-to-be come in looking for patterns for an excited knitter in the family to knit for the much anticipated baby. In our experience, the person wanting to knit is accustomed to patterns knit flat and seamed rather than in the round. They are after simple construction and no unfamiliar terms or techniques.

On the other hand, the person who is going to be dressing the baby everyday wants beautiful hand knits in nice yarns. After being asked by a friend on Twitter for some suggestions, I thought the easiest way was to put together a post of great patterns that will work for both parties. My tip: print off the pattern and either buy or make gentle suggestions as to the kind of yarn you would like to use. In the past people knit with acrylic because it was machine washable - these days the wool cycle on the newer generation washing machines is gentle enough for hand wash only yarns. Natural fibres are always, always better than acrylic. Acrylic is essentially plastic, and who wants to wear plastic?

As much as I can i've linked to patterns on public websites. Some are from Ravelry though - which you do need to sign up for. Even if you aren't planning to knit yourself, I highly recommend creating an account and having a browse through the pattern database.

10ply / Aran weight cardigan, free pattern, Ravelry link

10ply / Aran weight cardigan, free pattern, Ravelry link

3ply/light fingering weight, free pattern, pdf link

If you're after a fantastic collection of small-people patterns, you can't really go past Just Jussi's Garter Stitch Plain and Simple booklet. We have copies in-store, or you can download the pdf booklet directly from Justine's site. We've just ordered loads more Cascade 220 Sport which is perfect for these patterns.

Garter Stitch Plain and Simple by Justine Turner of Just Jussi

If you have any questions or need a helping hand making yarn and pattern selections - please ask! It's what we love to help with!

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April 23, 2013

Man knits

A long running issue with men getting into knitting has been patterns. There is a long history of men being the recipients of knitted gifts that are somewhat....ill-conceived. Said gifts are often fussy, with too many details or the wrong colour choice. Scratchy yarn is a big turn-off, as are impractical garments. There is a well-known 'sweater curse' that even has its own Wikipedia entry

Mike is going to be working off some his favourite patterns for the Man Made course, including some WWII standard issue patterns for knitting for the troops. Knitting for a man at war couldn't be fussy: it had to be simple, practical and highly functional. Function namely being warm. My idea of the perfect knitwear design is a harmony in simplicity. I find all too often that designers of both mens and womenswear have a tendency to add 'something else'. Something else usually being totally unnecessary and upsetting the balance of the underlying design. 

What i've learned over the years is that men don't want complicated design, they want to put on a jersey that keeps them warm. The jersey shouldn't tell the world very loudly that it is hand-knit; it should be functional garment that serves its purpose well. It comes down to: the simpler, the better. Here's my round-up of great man knits - with an attempt to include some of the best male knitwear designers around.

Turn a Square by Jared Flood

Brownstone by Jared Flood

Emilien by Ariane Caron-Lacoste

Seamless Saddle Shoulder Pullover by Elizabeth Zimmerman

Basic Pullover and Vest by Bruce Weinstein

(don't mind that this image shows a model wearing a sample two sizes too big for him)

This entire post could be a shrine to Jared Flood, but I've resisted that urge. Jared Flood, of Brooklyn Tweed, is an incredible design talent. I'd go so far as to say he is an knitwear architect - every one of his designs have strong foundations with the simplest and most balanced details. His success is well-earned, that's for sure. He now works with an esteemed group of designers and has his own yarn line. He's my man-knit hero.

There is still a pretty big gap in the men's knitwear pattern market, but it is slowly being filled. Unfortunately there are still a lot of hideous patterns being produced. My challenge to our new male knitters: design your own patterns. Knit what you want to wear. Let's start sending a clear message about the kind of knits that fit into your life. And wear them with pride.

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March 06, 2013

New Knitscene

Taking a moment out this afternoon to flip through the new Knitscene mag, oh my oh I was well taken with some of the patterns!


Besides the fact they are yellow and grey - I'm in love with the graphic styling of these Caution mitts by Rebecca Blair

Humboldt Raglan by Alexandra Virgiel - gorgeous simplicity in Cascade 220 Sport (we'll have more in stock in a few weeks) 

The eyelet pattern in the yoke of this great pullover has completely won me over. Again perfectly simple yet interesting and balanced design - the Rockfall Sweater by Mari Chiba

And of course i'm saving the best to last:

Grenadine by the one and only, ever wonderful Michaela Moores. It's wonderful to see Michaela in Knitscene - and this tunic dress is a delight. I adore how it puffs out a little at the mid-thigh, just short enough to intrigue. This is great knitwear design - timeless, classic, and yet incredibly modern. It's knit in Spud and Chloe Fine, and it the perfect winter go anywhere, do anything dress. On my queue it goes! 

Now I think about it, it would also be gorgeous knit in up in Zealana Kiwi Fingering. Mmmm. 

All images are thanks to Knitscene and all pattern links take you to Ravelry. 

Happy knitting! xx

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