Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mother's Day Offers of Squishy Yarn and Fab Turban Kits

Susan's beautiful vintage inspired yarn, Excelana Luxury 4ply wool, is now newly available to purchase from our shop. Developed in collaboration with John Arbon of Fibre Harvest, and supported by the British Wool Marketing Board and the Campaign for Wool, this yarn is 100% British wool (70% Exmoor Blueface/30% Bluefaced Leicester).

Available in 8 stunning colours created by Susan, this yarn is just what you need for your vintage knitting projects.
Buy 5 balls or more before midnight on Sunday (3rd April 2011) and receive a free project bag.
And if all of that's not enough, we have a limited number of Susan's Greta Turban Kit in stock and we also have a 50% sale on all remaining Pepin Press products!
 And, of course if you're not looking for a Mother's Day present, all these offers still apply!

Happy gift-hunting
Ingrid x

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Mother's Day is nearly here

...are you ready yet? If like me, it is all a bit of a flying panic or you're just struggling for ideas for the lady who has everything, fear not. We have some great offers available from the knitonthenet shop.

A Stitch in Time, Volume Two is still available to pre-order with a fabulous package of goodies including yarn, a signed copy and a project bag as part of the pre order package. Save £5 on the retail price by ordering now, and take advantage of our Gift Certificate emailed to you to print out and give to the recipient.

We also have some other excellent savings in-store. For a limited period A Stitch in Time, Volume One is available for only £20 - saving £7.99 on the retail price.

And Vintage Gifts to Knit, featuring 16 designs for women, men, children, baby and home, by Susan Crawford, is now only £10, saving £4.00 on the RRP.

And for the next 48 hours Susan is signing any of her titles ordered through the shop.
 Purchase either of these great titles by 3pm on Thursday for guaranteed delivery for Mother's Day (mainland UK addresses only).

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Amended Publication Date for A Stitch in Time vol 2

Susan recently emailed all the pre-order customers of A Stitch in Time Volume 2 to explain her decision to amend the publication date on the book. We hope that everyone has received and has had time to read the email and would like to share its contents with you now:

"As you know, A Stitch in Time Volume 2 was due for publication on 31st March. However I have had to revise the publication date due to a number of factors that I have been trying to deal with, but ultimately by rushing the book to meet the original publication date, I believe errors etc will creep in and I really don't want that to happen.

An unusually high number of the original vintage patterns being used in the book have been found to be incorrect on knitting up and I have had to spend more time than expected correcting the patterns before they could be knit again. More than expected have proven so inaccurate that I have had to remove them from the book and replace them with alternative patterns. This means even more knitting and checking.

With to the high level of inaccuracies in the original patterns I have taken the decision to introduce a further level of independent technical editing which is expensive and time consuming but I am sure you will agree, well worth it, if it removes errors in the new patterns.

With so many patterns in the book, it is proving a momentous task to get all the patterns written. There is also an additional section on fit and finishing to help choose and complete the right patterns, which I'm writing at the moment. I think it will be a great addition to the book and a valuable tool when knitting from any vintage pattern, and I don't want to miss it out just to save time.

These books really are a labour of love. With just Gavin, myself and my mother in law permanently involved on the project at all levels until it goes to be printed, this is what self publishing is all about, but it does mean that you have to do everything yourself. I wouldn't have it any other way but it does create additional pressure and time constraints.

In addition to this there have been delays in the arrival of
Excelana, which was being used for a number of patterns in the book. As it is my own yarn, I really want it to be featured in the book, but I only received the final batch last week, which has dramatically delayed things. Also, the lovely firm, JC Rennie went into liquidation very recently, which means several garments that were knitted in their yarns are having to be reknit in a yarn that will still be available when the book is published.

I am so grateful to every one who has pre-ordered the book, as without you it probably would not have been possible and I appreciate your commitment to the project, and am determined to communicate fully and explain what is happening. Realistically, with the number  of setbacks and delays we have experienced and also additional work needed, I think it would be safest to move the publication date to the end of June and then if it is ready early, it will be an unexpected bonus. I hope this isn't too disappointing,  but I am convinced that the finished book is well worth the wait. (We are currently looking at over 75 patterns and around 400 pages of wonderful vintage gorgeousness presented in a beautiful hard back book). I will continue to release images and details of projects in the book without giving the whole game away and will communicate as regularly as possible to advise of any developments. I am also looking at the early release to yourselves of a single pattern from the book as a thank you.

Pre-orders will continue to remain available at the discounted price, along with all the extra goodies, for the forseeable future. If you are unhappy to wait please do contact the shop and your order can be cancelled and a refund arranged but I do hope that you will bear with me these extra couple of months to make sure you all get the book you want.

with kindest regards

Susan Crawford"

We hope that it fully explains the huge task involved in putting this book together. Susan has received some lovely responses from customers offering moral support in this huge task, and these responses have really helped.

Thank you everyone.
All of us at Arbour House Publishing x


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Rose Jumper: A Stitch in Time Retrospective

The fabulous cover-star of the book, The Rose Jumper is one of the most flattering patterns that you can knit from A Stitch in Time. With a beautiful textured pattern, this jumper is a real looker, and far more easy to knit than you might think. It has been graded for the modern woman and now comes in four sizes, to fit bust 30-44 inches. The texture is formed from an easy to remember 8 row stitch pattern and knits up really quickly.

 The Rose Jumper © Arbour House Publishing
The garment is a lovely feminine sweater which was first published in Women's Weekly magazine in 1934. The look of the time was a ladylike, soft line which didn't fit too closely to the body. The jumper is knitted in four parts: the front, back and two arms are knitted up separately and seamed up after finishing. The roses of it's name create a pretty detail at the neckline and are made in crochet.

The Rose Jumper © Arbour House Publishing
The Rose Jumper is knitted in a fine DK yarn, and author Susan Crawford advises that it needs to be nice and soft to drape nicely. The original is knitted up in some alpaca silk from Blue Sky Alpaca. You can see which yarns other people knitted the jumper in on the project page on Ravelry (by clicking here) to see both how different yarns worked for the pattern, and also whether you have something in your stash that might work.

 Rose Jumper Tension Square © Ingrid Murnane
As always, please do knit yourself a tension square (gauge swatch). A quick hint for knitting a square in the pattern - add an extra stitch to the four in the stitch pattern (eg 21 instead of 20 or 29 instead of 28) so that you can see how it will knit up over the pattern as it is written. I knitted up one earlier in some RYC Cashcotton DK which I had handy. This yarn is a little bigger than the original, and has thus knitted up a little more densely than the original yarn, but still retains enough drape, so I think I'll stick with it. I'll have to do another square though, as it has turned out a little too big. You'll only be able to tell that sort of thing by doing a tension square in your preferred yarn though. There's more information about knitting tension squares here.
If you are thinking of knitting The Rose Jumper for yourself or somebody else, here is a bit more information from the pattern's Ravelry page, and also the link to the page for A Stitch in Time volume 1 on the knitonthenet shop.

As always, if you do knit one, send us a photograph! We'd love to see your hard work.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pattern: #Plateaknit Recipe

Gosh, it's been a little while since we had a knitonthenet pattern, hasn't it! 

 #Plateaknit detail copyright Ingrid Murnane
This one isn't so much as a standard pattern, as a knitting recipe. It arose out of an online performance that I led last year for @platea, the online performance art group. You can knit it up to either make a scarf from the whole instructions, or pick and choose bits to make into hats or wristers, as I did (see below).

 #Plateaknit wristers, copyright Ingrid Murnane
 If you'd like to know a little more about the background to the project, please do check out the article on my blog, or if you're in London this weekend, you can ask me lots of questions as I'll be talking about the #plateaknit project at Stitch and Craft at Olympia this Saturday (19th March). I'll be on at 10.30 in the Knitting Live Theatre, so do come and learn more, if you're there. Susan will also be giving a talk about vintage knitting at Stitch and Craft on Friday at 1pm, so do pop by and find out all about her latest projects and the development of her new yarn, Excelana.

 Platea hat from knitting performance, copyright Ingrid Murnane

#Plateaknit Knitting Recipe
By Ingrid Murnane and the #plateaknitters

Design Story
For five days in February 2010 I devised and led a knitting performance on Twitter called #plateaknit. Instructions were tweeted by the @platea online performance collective for others to interpret to the best of their ability in knitting, crochet or any other medium of their choice. Some of the performers were knitters, some were not, so you will see that while there are a number of typical knitting abbreviations, there are plenty of others that are a little different. This scarf is made up from the entire instruction feed of the performance. I feel that it is more of a recipe than a pattern because you, as the original performers will all interpret the instructions in your own way. Everybody will come out with something different at the end. You can read more background information about the #plateaknit project over at

 #Plateaknit scarf, ready to be exhibited at Prick Your Finger, photograph copyright Giles Babbidge

This pattern uses aran weight yarn and 5mm needles. Tension is not overly important as it is a scarf. I used Rowan aran yarn for the main green colour with some Cascade 220 for the other stripes. Some I even used two strands of sock weight yarn held together for some parts. Just use whatever scraps you have to make it interesting, but try to make it all tone together well, overall.

My interpretations of the pattern, in the pictures, were made for the #plateaknit Twitter performance. The scarf (above) gets exhibited from time to time, so is kept on the needles as a hanging art piece.

These instructions make a scarf about 34cm wide. As a rough guide, the full recipe makes a scarf about 92cm long (depending on how many times you repeat some of the instructions). You will need to repeat them twice to make it about 185 long.

Top Tips
For each new instruction set, change colour (these are denoted by the asterisk at the start of the line). If an instruction is too difficult to interpret, leave it out and move on. Some instructions will ask you to do Twitter-specific things. If you’re on Twitter and able to do this: great! If not, then just interpret to the best of your ability, perhaps from the TV instead. As you’ll see, some of the tweets were topical (iPad and Iraq Inquiry). Be creative and enjoy it!

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The Recipe
Cast on 60 stitches in main colour.

*Knit the next five rows in k2, p2 rib

*This lace pattern works out over 49 stitches: if using 60 stitches, work 6 before the pattern and 5 after on each row

Row 1
p3 *k6, k3tog, yo,k1, yo, p1, k6, k3tog, yo,k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo sl2 k1 psso, k6, p1,yo, k1, yo sl2 k1 psso, k6,  p3

Row 2,4,6,8 
k3 *p10, k1, p10, k1, p10, k1, p10, k3

Row 3
p3, k4,k3tog,k1,yo,k1,yo,k1,p1,k4, k3tog, k1,yo,k1,yo,k1,p1,k1,yo,k1,yo,k1,sl2 k1 psso,k4,p1k1,yo,k1,yo,k1,sl2 k1 psso,k4*p3

Row 5
p3*k2,k3tog,k2,yo,k1,yo,k2,p1,k2, k3tog, k2,yo,k1,yo,k2,p1,k2,yo,k1,yo,k2,sl2 k1 psso,k2,p1k2,yo,k1,yo,k2,sl2 k1 psso,k2*p3 

Row 7
p3*k3tog,k3,yo,k1,yo,k3,p1, k3tog,k3,yo,k1,yo,k3,p1,k3,yo,k1,yo,k3,sl2 k1 psso,p1k3,yo,k1,yo,k3,sl2 k1 psso,k3*p3 

Repeat as many times as you like

*Change to a new colour for the next five rows

*For the next 10 rows, make an eyelet (yo, k2tog) everytime you see a RT

*For the next 8 rows, knit moss (seed) stitch (*k1,p1* to end on first row, *p1, k1* to end on second row)

* yo, k2tog, k2, yo, k2tog, k3 to the end of the row. Repeat for 6 rows

*kfb every time someone tweets about the Apple Tablet

*Make the next 3 rows either pink or yellow then change back to your original colour

*Weave an 8” bit of yarn into the next 9 stitches. Let leftover tails dangle on RS of piece

*Weave an 8” bit of yarn into the next 9 stitches. Let leftover tails dangle on RS of piece

*Do a row in green to match my hula-hoop

*For the next row only: close your eyes and trust your inner-knitter

*If you’re playing music, every time the song changes, reverse the direction of your stitches, i.e. knit becomes purl, purl becomes knit

*Twist your next two stitches over each other for every rude word tweeted or heard

*For the next row pretend you’re in the knitlympics and focus on speed, not accuracy

*Make the next two rows sparkle, the three after that dull and the two after that sparkle again

*Change from knit to purl for three stitches each time there is a tweet mentioning food or drink

*Every time a non-knitter tweets, yo, k3, k2tog

*For every tweet that mentions a pop culture celebrity, slip a stitch

*Change lobsters and dance! By which I mean, time to change colors! And make it a sharp contrast change

*Weave an 8" bit of yarn into the next 9 stitches. Let leftover tails dangle on RS of piece.

*Weave an 8" bit of yarn into the next 9 stitches. Let leftover tails dangle on RS of piece.

*Change lobsters and dance! By which I mean, time to change colors! And make it a sharp contrast change

*k1, p2, k1, p3, k2, p2, k2, p1, k1, p1, k1, p3, k1, p3, k1, p2, k3, p2, k1, p3, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1, p3, k2, p1, k2, p2, k4, p1, k1, p3, k1, p1, k3, p2, k1, p4, k1, p3, k2, p1,k1

*using morse code (as shown here translated as purl for dash and knit for dot, knit your name

*using morse code (as shown here translated as purl for dash and knit for dot, knit your latest tweet

*Change to the colour that the next tweet you see mentioning a colour says

*0=k 1=p: 01101011011011100110100101110100

*0=k 1=p: 01101011011011100110100101110100
*What would Beethoven's 5th look like if it were a knit pattern? Put your interpretation in the next 5 rows

*Hooped! Do a row of green to match my hula hoop

*Change colour to reflect the current weather. Sun yellow, Rain blue, Snow white, Clouds grey etc

*Change your color to reflect what you ate for lunch and knit 2 rows of moss stitch. If you ate too much switch to a larger needle

*k 2/3rds of sts, wrap & turn, k across middle 3rd, w&t, k to 2 st past last wrap, w&t, continue to w&t back and forth full row

*Purl full row, repeat wrap row, purl full row

*Hooped! Do a row of green to match my hula hoop

*Do the next two rows in stocking stitch and the two after that in one by one rib

*Weave an 8" bit of yarn into the next 9 stitches. Let leftover tails dangle on RS of piece

*Twist your next two stitches over each other for every rude word tweeted or heard

*k 2/3rds of sts, wrap & turn, k across middle 3rd, w&t, k to 2 st past last wrap, w&t, continue to w&t back and forth full row

*Whatever you are doing now, wrap and turn
*If you prefer pale ales to darker stouts, avoid weaving in ends at all costs

*Sings *knit, knit, knit, knit, purl, purl, purl, knit*

*Make it (more) orange now

*Yeah, let's wrap and turn again, ok?

*Sew on a button, sequin or trinket please

*make some lace... whatever you are doing, add yarn overs to every third k stitch. then k2tog

*Over the next row, decrease by 10 stitches, knit the next three rows and add increase by 10 on the fifth row

*For all Twitter feed references to Apple or iTablet today add an eyelet: yo k2tog

*Starting here, and counting the stitches as you go,knit all normal numbers and purl all prime numbers up to 100

*Make the next ten rows with your favourite stitch pattern

**kfb1 yo2 yf3* to end of row

*It’s opposites time: swap colours to the opposite on the colour wheel of whatever you’re using

*Revert to the previous pattern you were using each time someone comments on their commute

*Easy 2 row pattern. Row1: knit 1, slip 1, repeat to end. Row2: slip 1, knit 1 to end. Repeat rows to suit

*For the next five rows, change one of your needles up three sizes and the other down by two

*Knit along with the song - any stitches of your choice (especially for the hat knitters!) :) ♫

*Make random buttonholes in the next row by casting off seven in that row and casting on seven in the corresponding place in next

*RIBS! Yummy yummy RIBS! Give me 10 sweet rows of k2p2 RIBS! Mmmmmm

*Of all th languages, it's Knitten for which I'm smitten: k4, p3, k2, p8, k to end of row. Repeat as you like

*Purl twice each time you see a ReTweet for the next three rows

*Make yourself a cuppa. On return, change colours to the darkest u own for 7 rows. Then change back as you were

*I think everyone should lose some stitches. Decrease next row by five stitches

*For the next three rows make it sparkle again!

*Weave an 8" bit of yarn into the next 9 stitches. Let leftover tails dangle on RS of piece

*Wrap & turn (a short row) when anyone in your twitter stream mentions #Blair or the #IraqInquiry

*Use black and white thread for every black and white statement made on TV today

*For each #FollowFriday in your Twitterstream: p1, k1 (through back loop), p1 to end of row, then follow 2nd row with knit (rice st)

*Stop knitting if Tony Blair apologises, admits he was wrong or is actually sincere during Chilcott Inquiry today

*Knit 3 secrets about you - spell them out in morsecode or use interpretive stitchery & color. Secrets are safe with yarn

*Make a nupp/bobble: Knit 4 times into next stitch and in the next row, Knit these same 4 sts together. Do many/few

*Row 1: knit, Row 2: purl, Rows 3&4: k1, p1 rib (Roman Rib stitch pattern). In something suitably Roman, of course...

*Every time #Blair says "look" do an eyelet/loophole: Yo K2 tog.

*Stop knitting if Tony Blair apologises, admits he was wrong ir is actually sincere during Chilcott Inquiry today

*Repeat the first instruction that you interpreted today, but in a different colour

*O=K 1=P: 011100000110110001100001011101000110010101100001

*yo k2tog (eyelet) every time you see someone use the word "love" in their tweet

*Be jubilant for you've created great work! Knit the next bit in your fave colour :) Then have a nice cup of tea

*Whatever you are making, you know it needs a tassle. Add a finishing additive element of your choosing.

Weave in the ends (apart from the ones in the instructions), or leave them hanging if it is an art piece. Block the scarf. Enjoy wearing a unique piece of art. Thank you for taking part in the #plateaknit performance.

The original Twitter #plateaknit performers were:


I hope that you have fun with this pattern and please do email me at ingrid[at] with all of your pictures!

Happy interpreting and art-knitting
Ingrid x

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mothering Sunday Knits, and a little history too

It's nearly that time again - just a few short weeks to go. Have you started your Mother's Day knitting yet?

Hang on, say our overseas readers... Mother's Day isn't til the 8th May! Well, in Britain, Mothering Sunday (Mother's Day) is always the fourth Sunday of lent, as it began as a Christian religious holiday, and it falls this year on 3rd April. Whether religious or not, most British families celebrate Mothering Sunday with a gift, a card and the general spoiling of their Mums and Nans.
Image copyright Ingrid Murnane

Mothering Sunday has also been known in the past as Refreshment Sunday or Pudding Pie Sunday and was a day in lent when the fasting rules were relaxed for a day to remember the feeding of the five thousand (one of the miracles told in the Gospels). Obviously this was cause for cake-making and general celebration.

Those in service in Britain (working as maids and footmen etc, rather than in the forces) were allowed one day to visite their family each year. This was generally on Mothering Sunday and it was traditional to take with them a Simnel cake, which is a delicious marzipanny concoction (although as an almond fiend I could be biased here). Do try the recipe if you haven't made one before.

Simnel Cake by Oimon. Used under Creative Commons
I’ll to thee a Simnell bring
‘Gainst thou go’st a mothering,
So that, when she blesseth thee,
Half that blessing thou’lt give to me
Robert Herrick 1648

So as well as baking your Mum a simnel cake, what are you going to knit her? There are three weeks to go, so it is reasonable that you could whip up some accessories or even a small garment.

Here are a few suggestions:

Image copyright Arbour House Publishing
It's still chilly enough in most of Britain to warrant a pair of Elegant Coat Gloves. This pattern is written by Susan Crawford from Vintage Gifts to Knit  and uses small amounts of different colour yarns to make a longer pair of coat gloves.You can learn or practice your Fair Isle technique with these.

Image copyright Arbour House Publishing  
The Town and City Tufted Cape from Vintage Gifts to Knit is a lovely little cover-up which would work brilliantly for spring. It is knitted with a clever 'tuft' stitch and a lady at Unravel told us that she knitted one up in just three days, giving you lots of time to get one knitted before Mothering Sunday. The pattern is adjustable to fit many sizes and different lengths so easy to adapt for your own Mum or Nan.

Of course, rather than knitting something to wear, you could always knit something fun to keep. I always think that it is much nicer to recieve something that has been made by someone's hands rather than bought in a shop, so instead of one of those 'forever friends' type of bears, why not try knitting one yourself? Oscar (on the left) is one of the lovely traditional teddy bears from Sandra Polley's book Knitted Toys. He stands at about 45cm or 18" tall and has a charming waistcoat to wear too. Sandra's book is a good one to dip into for lots of other projects that take just an oddment or two of yarn as well, so a good one if you have just one skein of something.

Happy planning!
Ingrid x

Friday, March 11, 2011

Behind the Scenes at the Photoshoot

Last Tuesday the Arbour House team got together and travelled to Liverpool for the latest photoshoot for A Stitch in Time volume 2. It was at once creative, hard work and great fun. Obviously we can't show you any of the actual photographs for the book yet, but I did manage to get a few behind-the-scenes shots that will give you an idea of the feel of the book.

The first photo shows the very talented Catherine Elizabeth doing the hair and make up and the last is one of our lovely models, Lola ready for her close up. It was a fabulous day and it was brilliant to see all of the garments worn: it brings them alive.

You can still pre-order A Stitch in Time volume 2 from the knitonthenet shop.

All images copyright Ingrid Murnane.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

We're on the Twitters!

It seems rather fitting that we have set up a new Twitter account for Arbour House Publishing on World Book Day. We're over there as @Arbour_House, so do pop on over and follow us for all the latest news on our books, and knitonthenet magazine.

By the way, you can also follow the magazine and shop at @knitonthenet, lovely editor and vintage knitting expert, Susan at @astitchintime, our graphic artist, web-designer and all round nice chap, Gavin as @GivvyGavvyGoo and me at @InnyM.

Hope to see you on the twitters!
Ingrid x

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Excelana has Arrived!

If you were one of the many who visited the Unravel festival of knitting at Farnham Maltings, you will have been among the first in the world to have seen Susan Crawford and John Arbon's new yarn, Excelana in the flesh (as it were).

We had a marvellous launch for this lovely, squishy new yarn, with our Susan Crawford Vintage Knitting stand alongside John Arbon's Fibre Harvest stand. The set-up worked splendidly, as it gave people the chance to see both the full range of the yarn in 4 ply (and two shades of dk) and also be inspired for knitting lovely vintage style garments with it at the same time.

Excelana will work wonderfully well for lots of the garments in both A Stitch in Time and Vintage Gifts to Knit. Most exciting of all, Susan is also using it as the yarn support for many of the garments in the forthcoming A Stitch in Time volume 2. Whilst at Unravel, both John and Susan gave separate talks about the development and making of Excelana, explaining their respective inputs and how the yarn came into being.

If you weren't one of the many at Unravel, or your shopping bag was already stuffed to breaking point by the time you got to us (c'mon, you know it happens) then I'm sure that you'll be pleased to know that Excelana is also available online at So whether you'd like some Nile Green or Powdered Egg, you can buy some for yourself by clicking here.

I came home with both Ruby Red and Cornflower Blue in the 4ply, which is the weight currently available. I have been knitting swatches up today and it is really lovely and silky around your fingers, and makes a beautifully soft fabric. Do let us know in the comments if you have bought some and how you're finding it.

Happy vintage knitting!
Ingrid x

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