Sunday, January 30, 2011

Looking Back and Looking Forwards

As you no doubt know, the second volume of A Stitch in Time will be published later this spring (can't wait!) In the meantime, I'm going to be writing a series of posts looking back at the first volume. There are some wonderful patterns that have been interpreted brilliantly by lots of people, so we'll get to see some of the different ways that you can wear them too.

We'll start next week with Sun-Ray Ribbing, a wonderfully flattering design from the 1930s.

If' you're new to A Stitch in Time, do take a look at both some of the miriad of designs therein, on Ravelry by clicking here, or at the knitonthenet shop, by clicking here. It is also now available to buy via amazon US as well.

Well, that's the looking back, how about the looking forwards I hear you ask.

Well, Arbour House Publishing (that's us) now have a Facebook page. We have always had a knitonthenet page there, but sometimes it was hard to let you know what was going on in the rest of the company without overshadowing knitonthenet, the magazine.

We will be bringing you all the latest updates on A Stitch in Time volume 2, special offers on other books that we've published, and any other new developments as they happen, so please do join us over on Facebook.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Technical Bits: Lifelines

In a recent discussion on the Ravelry board for A Stitch in Time volume 1, the issue of lifelines came up in relation to the pattern Knitter's Delight

As you can see from the image of Knitter's Delight, above, it is a lace pattern. This is where the lifelines come in... If you have never knitted lace because you are worried about messing up the pattern, or if you have tried and struggled and ended up ripping it out, then you need to know what lifelines are.

 Used under Creative Commons from The Bees
Thanks, Annie!

A lifeline, in knitting terms is a safety net which provides a place to unravel your knitting back to if you make a mistake. You can see from the image above that this knitter has used a contrasting piece of crochet cotton, threaded through the stitches at a point where her lace pattern changes charts.

You might choose to use a lifeline after each lace repeat or half repeat if it is a large complicated one. Lifelines are predominantly used in lace knitting because it is difficult to tink (knit backwards to unpick) or unravel the multiple yarn-overs and k2togs that make up the pattern. However, they are a really good addition to any complicated knitting pattern, especially one using a technique that you are trying out for the first time. There's nothing stopping you adding lifelines to your fair isle, cables or anything else you fancy.

Used under Creative Commons from Dave's Portfolio

But how do you add a lifeline? 
You already know that it is an extra, separate piece of yarn threaded through a row. It should be threaded through the live stitches either by using the piece of yarn on a darning needle after you have completed the last row of the repeat, or if you have interchangeable needles, you can put the yarn through the tightening hole in the cable and knit it through the last row as you go.  It is possible to add a lifeline further down your knitting by using a darning needle, but this makes it more fiddly to catch all of the increase and decrease stitches. 

Top tip: be careful not to thread your lifeline through a stitch marker, or it will not be possible to slip the marker on the next row.
The knitter whose work you saw in the picture above used a contrasting cotton crochet thread, so it would both be easy to see and also to remove from the knitting afterwards. Linen thread and waxed dental floss are also good to use. If you don't have any of these handy, just make sure that you use a yarn that is a lighter weight than the main yarn you are knitting with and that it has a smooth finish.

Important Addition!

Annie pointed out to me that it was all very well telling you all how to make a lifeline and what it was for, but what about how to frog your knitting back and get your stitches back on the needles?!

All you need to do to rip back to the lifeline is to slip the knitting from the needles, carefully unravel the knitting (this may be more difficult if you have something which has mohair in it, like Kidsilk Haze). Once you get to the lifeline, you won't be able to unravel any further. This is the point where you will need to put the knitting back onto your needles.

Carefully insert the needle into the first stitch that has the lifeline through it, and pop it onto the needle. You can either take the lifeline out of each stitch as you go along, leave it til the last one is done, or just leave it in to continue being a lifeline (I prefer leaving it in, especially if I've gone wrong once!) Move on to the next stitch, popping it onto the needle and continue until you get to the end of the row. You will be left with a correctly knitted row which will have no dropped or twisted stitches.

Basically then you continue on as you were before, and if you make another mistake that warrants frogging a few rows, you have a lifeline there still.

Happy lifesaving!
Ingrid x


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Knitting Classes at the Mary Rose Museum

If you're in the Portsmouth area, you can learn to knit (or refresh your skills) with me (Ingrid) on either February or March 5th (or both if you're keen!)

It is all in aid of the Mary Rose 500 appeal which raises money for the new Mary Rose Museum which will house King Henry VIII's flagship at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The classes are running as part of the education programme that goes alongside their latest exhibition The Tudors Courtly Couture Collection. If you're a fan of The Tudors tv series, this is a really great opportunity to see the original costumes up close. I went to see the costumes when they arrived at the museum and the detailing even on the costumes is amazing. They really were the Kings of Bling.

There will also be two more classes on 12th February and 26th March, where I will be teaching how to make knitted bouquets and buttonholes for a Winter Wedding, and the Scroggers from Glee, respectively (scroggers were Tudor leg or arm warmers).

If you'd like to book up, please do get in touch with Fiona Harvey 02392 750521 or email her at f.harvey[at]

Hope to see you there!
Ingrid x
(assistant editor)


Friday, January 21, 2011

As publication nears..

Susan wrote a really good behind-the-scenes post on her blog, Just call me Ruby
all about what goes on behind the scenes when it's getting near to the culmination of producing a new book (that's A Stitch in Time, volume 2, if you're new).

As well as this she gives us a look at one of the 75 (count 'em!) patterns which will be available therein. 

Do enjoy!
Ingrid x

Up to now this year has been all about getting organized behind the scenes so that the countdown to publication of A Stitch in Time Vol 2 goes as smoothly as possible. Every time I cook a dinner, I'm making enough for double servings so that one half goes in the freezer ready for the next few weeks when normal life will stop and an enormous amount of work has to get done in a very short space of time.  When writing and editing A Stitch in Time Vol 1, I really didn't think about how much it would impact on day to day life, but starting work at 8am and finishing at 3am was too much and this time I am determined to be more organized. I also forgot that I would need to stop and cook dinners and just couldn't find the time, hence the plan to have at least 30 evening meals, lunches, soups, breads and cakes etc all frozen and ready to be used each day.

One of my other plans is to introduce a new design  with each blog post, so without further ado, please meet "Blouse with a Gathered Neckline" from A Stitch in Time Vol 2.

This gorgeous little sweater is from the 1950s and features those quintessential style statements of high neckline, buttons at back neck, fitted close to the body, short sleeves, nipped in waist and fine, fine yarn. It was actually knitted in a 1 ply wool and would have been lightweight enough to be worn tucked into a pencil skirt without making lumps!

copyright Arbour House Publishing 2010

With this sweater I felt it was important to get as close to the original garment weight as possible to really show how delicate these sweaters were.  I therefore used Cecilia from Posh Yarns a 50/50 silk and cashmere yarn with 1300 yards to a 100gm skein. This fabulous top takes all of one skein!

Copyright Arbour House Publishing 2010

There is a repeat pattern throughout the garment which makes it a much more interesting knit than plain stocking stitch, the sleeves are set in with the added touch of a dainty picot hem to the cuffs. The collar is knit separately and again features the picot edge as does the feminine ribbon which is cleverly knitted and folded into a bow. The only change I have made is omitting the patch pocket, which although knitted, just seems to spoil another wise perfectly elegant line.

Copyright Arbour House Publishing 2010

With being fitted, short sleeved and bodied, it actually knits up really quickly for a lace weight garment and gives you the perfect excuse to indulge in a skein of something really, really special.

Don't forget, the pre-order offer is still available on the knitonthenet shop, with an ever growing package of goodies!

for now
Ruby xxx

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Knitting: Passion or Obsession?

The Last Knit: When knitting becomes an obsession.
Directed by Laura Neuvonen, from Finland. 2005.

So, knitonthenetters, can you go a day without knitting?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We're on Electric Sheep!

Thanks very much to the lovely Hoxton Handmade who gave the knitonthenet shop a shout on on her podcast, Electric Sheep. In her latest episode, number 66: The Panto Stikes Back, she recommended pre-ordering a copy of A Stitch in Time Volume 2 for a belated Christmas present. Even for yourself to kickstart your knitting inspiration in 2011.

You can listen to the episode here - it is, as always very funny.

..and remember, you can pre-order your copy of A Stitch in Time Volume 2 at the knitonthenet shop by clicking here.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Father's New Socks

Father's New Socks is a lovely pattern from Susan Crawford's Vintage Gifts to Knit.  Knitted in a mock Fair Isle pattern using a slip stitch, they are much less complicated to knit than they look.

 Image copyright Arbour House Publishing

Susan called her pattern 'Father's New Socks' because she thought that they would be just the sort of thing that her own Dad would love to get. Although the ones in the picture above (and in the book) were made for her husband, she has now made a pair for her Dad too.

The pattern calls for Jamieson and Smith 2-ply jumper yarn, which is a pure wool 4-ply weight yarn and work in a whole variety of colour combinations, as you'll see below.

Skein Queen made a gorgeous pair of these out of her own Blush yarn before Christmas, seen below.

Image copyright Skein Queen

We also have a knit-along thread in the Just Call Me Susan group on Ravelry at the moment for Father's New Socks and there are some fantastic pairs of socks coming out of it. You can see some of them on the projects pages, and here are a couple so that you can see the lovely colours people are putting together.

Melarno on Ravelry made a lovely pair for her Dad's birthday using blue and brown for contrast.

Image copyright Melarno

Donna G has a lovely pair of the socks in progress for her son who likes 'old style'.

Image copyright Donna G

If this has whetted your appetite for knitting a pair, the Father's New Socks pattern is available as part of Vintage Gifts to Knit. You can get your copy in one of three ways. It is available from the knitonthenet shop as both a print copy and an e-book (bottom left), and also as a Ravelry download. 

Happy Sock Knitting
Ingrid x

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Read All About It

While knitonthenet is being updated, you can see that we are running rather a skeleton service, but fret not! We have a brilliant back-catalogue of amazing features and articles: four years' worth in fact. If you've only really looked at our patterns, you've definitely been misisng out. Here are a few to start you off, covering such diverse topics as Felt Burial Shrouds and Jane Waller's Ten Reasons to use Fine Yarns.

Perhaps you, like us, love the vintage look. I reckon you should read 1950s Handmade Buttons.

Textile artist Rachael Matthews talks about one of Prick Your Finger's knitting activism in Louder than Bombs.

If you liked Helene Magnusson's wonderful Flag pattern from Issue 1, I bet you'll be interested in her article about Icelandic Knitting in a previous issue too.

So, there are a few to get you started. Let us know what you think, and what you'd like to read more of too!

Happy reading,
Ingrid x

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