Friday, April 29, 2011

knitonthenet relaunches!

Welcome to the new look knitonthenet!
As many of you may be aware, knitonthenet has been running as somewhat of a skeleton service for some months now. This has enabled us to spend a significant period of time redesigning the site contents – including a complete restructuring – to provide you with a better, more interactive and dynamic site. 

 Knitonthenet is back with a whole new concept, and as you can see, a new look too. Instead of the former issued-led quarterly magazine, we shall be updating the website on a regular basis with patterns, articles and reviews. This means that you won’t have to wait three months for new designs as was the case in the magazine format.

In redesigning the site, we decided on a more streamlined, clean look and have made it easier to navigate by using drop-down menus. All of the same useful features are still available such as the design-chart maker, the resources page and our knitting conversions charts.

Fern by Catherine Wilson
As I’m sure a lot of you know, the decision has been taken after consultation with our pattern designers, that the majority of patterns on the site will no longer be offered free of charge. We feel that it is important that the hard work of the designers is valued and renumerated properly, and that by charging for these patterns we will be able to continue providing well written, appealing knitting and crochet designs. The prices were agreed upon after consideration of the amounts of time involved in both the work of the designers and also that of the knitonthenet team. The purchasable patterns are available through their individual pages to download, whilst the free patterns are available on the website as usual.

 Myrtle knitting bag by Ingrid Murnane
We will be regularly updating the site and shop with new patterns, and also in order to get our whole ‘back catalogue’ online once again, so do sign up to the knitonthenet newsletter (at the top right of each page) so that you can find out automatically when your favourites are back up.

We have some lovely new patterns for you from a range of designers.

Naturally Slouchy by Woolly Wormhead
A great new stashbusting pattern from Woolly Wormhead using a local Lancashire hill sheep wool, a great summer top, Carol by first-time knitonthenet designer Isabelle Boutin, a knitting bag that would double for the beach by Ingrid Murnane, and for crocheters a stunning wrap by Catherine Wilson.

 Carol by Isabelle Boutin
We also have a new free pattern from Sandra Polley, Bertie our British breeds bear. You can also read our review of Sandra’s latest book, Sandra Polley’s Knitted Toys, as well as our interview with her and take advantage of our book offer.

Bertie by Sandra Polley
We do hope that you enjoy the new-look knitonthenet and thank you for waiting for us to relaunch.

Susan, Gavin and Ingrid
The knitonthenet team


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Behind the scenes at knitonthenet

Yarn! Image copyright Ingrid Murnane
 Happy Easter, everyone!
Although it has been a quieter week, here on the blog, conversely it has been a hugely busy one behind the scenes. We are almost set to relaunch knitonthenet with a whole new format, concept and a new look too.

 Gavin, working on knitonthenet. Image copyright Ingrid Murnane
Gavin and I have been working away together for the past week: myself editing and rewriting, checking over pattern details and reviewing all sort of bits and pieces. Gavin has the monumental task of uploading all of the new site's content, putting in the many, many links, ironing out any hitches and making sure the new shop system and the whole site works. But don't think Susan has been slacking! She's busy, busy proofreading patterns for knitonthenet, grading patterns for A Stitch in Time volume 2, and of course knitting away on garments for the book too.

We aim to have the site up and running for you late on Easter Monday, so watch out for an announcement!

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Monday, April 18, 2011

To Make Your Monday Morning

There's lots and lots going on here at Knitonthenet Towers. Most of it is secret as of yet, and has to do with either the upcoming new site design, (which is within touching distance of being finished - hurrah!) or is part of the coming together of Susan Crawford and Jane Waller's new book, A Stitch in Time volume 2. Of course, we can't spoil the surprise of either of those quite yet, but there are some other rather good things on our own websites ( and and lovely new things in the knitonthenet shop that we'd love to share.

Susan shared a brilliant poem on her blog, Just call me Ruby, this past week that will make you giggle. Especially if you have ever put an item of knitwear into the wash and had it come out only to fit either a dolly, or an elephant... Bridget's Blunder.
Nobody Owens, image copyright Giles Babbidge
I have added another couple of pieces to my series of sock art, the Mrs Minivers with the Progression of Nobody Owens. Here I tell the story behind this latest piece with yarn and colour decisions.

Technical editor extraordinaire, Jen Arnall-Culliford has been working with Susan on A Stitch in Time volume 2 and has written a fascinating post for Susan's blog about why many vintage patterns are only written in one size.
  Retro Cloche Hat, copyright Arbour House Publishing
 We have new kits in the knitonthenet shop! As you know, we launched the kits with the Greta Turban and the promise of more - so here they are. We have a whole range of accessories which include the Evangeline Hat, the ever popular Retro Cloche Hat, the Victorian-inspired Tiny Tippet, Miss Laverty's Motoring Hood and one for the chaps, Busker Mitts. Do take a look.

 As well as all of that, there is of course, Susan's and John Arbon's new wool, Excelana. Have you tried it out yet? I have been knitting something for A Stitch in Time volume 2 in the powdered egg colourway and although I don't suit it to wear myself, it has quickly become my favourite colour to knit with. So sunny!

I have been thinking about the colour choices we make and the stitch patterns that we try out, lately, and decided this week to think about and update my Knitter's Geek Code. I wonder what yours looks like?

Lastly, today sees the launch of issue 31 of  UK knitting magazine, The Knitter, in which Susan has both an article about the craft and knitting shops of Paris, and a lovely pattern for a crossover top inspired by the 1920s. Why not get yourself a copy at lunchtime?

Well, I hope that some of that will brighten up your Monday morning! We're back to the secret stuff now.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Bridget's Blunder. A story for all of us knitters.

This post comes via Susan's blog, Just Call me Ruby. She shared this poem which she found at the back of a 1940s pattern booklet, promoting the famous 'Patonised' wool of the time. It contains some good advice!

Bridget's Blunder

My story tells of Bridget Whitting
Who loved both plain and fancy knitting,
But though she worked by day and night
Her efforts seldom turned out right.
Friends would say, "Cor! That jumper's posh!"
But when she'd given it a wash,
Instead of snugly fitting Bridget
It seemed more suited to a midget.
One day, when off to see her draper
She saw announced inside her paper
A brand-new wool; was she elated!
For bold as brass the maker stated:-
"This wool's the best that can be got,
It will not shrink, no matter what!"
So Bridget told her woolshop flat,
"I'll have a basinful of that."
And hurried home with glowing cheeks,
But couponless for weeks and weeks.
Soon willing Labour bore its fruit -
A salmon-pinky jumpersuit,
Which Bridget wore with pride o'er-weening
Till, solied and creased, it needed cleaning.
Said B., "It won't take half a wink,
the makers say it cannot shrink."
(But they forgot to say - the wretches! -
That wool made shrinkless sometimes stretches).
'Twas washed; the outcome nearly killed her,
It went three times round Aunt Matilda!
And looked in shade like Aunt Euphemia
Who suffers from acute anaemia.
"That's finished it," wept B., "I'm quitting,
I'm through for good and all with knitting;
I'll write at once to my MP,
about this dire clamity."
Her tale was penned 'midst groans and hisses,
- The MP showed it to his Mrs.
Who said, "That girl should be advised
to stick to wool that's Patonised,
Which, used with reasonable care
Will wash and wash, and wear and wear;
Trust P&B, the leading spinners
Only to turn out certain winners.
Just tell her she's a chump to quit
When there's such lovely wool to knit."
B. took the tip, no longer weeps;
that MP's in his seat for keeps!

Happy knitting,
Ingrid, Susan and Bridget x

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Made So Quickly: A Stitch in Time Retrospective

As the name suggests, this lovely jumper really is a quick knit. Originally published in Women's Weekly magazine in September 1936, it appears in the Fitted Tailored Look section of A Stitch in Time, volume 1.

 Image copyright Arbour House Publishing
Made so Quickly is knitted in double knitting yarn; the garment in the book uses organic cotton for a lovely drape. It has an easy-to-knit stitch pattern which would lend itself to knitting in front of the tv or whilst listening to a podcast, but is involved enough to keep your interest. It is knitted from the bottom up, in sections and the front is divided for the look of a cardigan. This is a great jumper to show off some beautiful vintage buttons too. 
Image copyright Arbour House Publishing
I've no particular swatching tips this time, apart from please remember to wash and block your swatch before measuring it in the same way as you'd wash the finished jumper. This will show you what will happen to the yarn you have chosen once you wash the whole garment. It would be terrible if the colour ran or it felted like mad!
Image copyright Ingrid Murnane

There are lots of lovely Made so Quicklys to browse on Ravelry, so you see what it looks like in different colours and on differently shaped people. I always find that helpful, don't you? Here's Susan herself in a fetching blue version.
Image copyright, Susan Crawford

The original pattern describes it as 'a pet of a jumper in easy knitting' so why not give this lovely pattern a go.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Friday, April 08, 2011


 This weekend sees the sheep and yarn festival, Wonderwool Wales.

If you're lucky enough to be going, please do go and visit John Arbon's stand (M5), where Susan and Gavin will also be. John and Susan will have a big display of 4ply Excelana, plus a couple of colours in Double Knitting. There will be the first chance to see some garments for A Stitch in Time volume 2 knitted up using Excelana as well, to whet your appetite!

If you're new to John Arbon's work, do take a good look at his other yarns and spinning fibre too. From experience, the alpaca sock yarn is particularly nice to work with.

Susan will also have her books, A Stitch in Time and Vintage Gifts to Knit for sale at special show prices (and of course, she'll sign them for you).

So do pop along, squish some Excelana, get your book signed and say hi to everyone. (Oh, and be sure to save me some Cornflower Blue!)

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Monday, April 04, 2011

A Short History of the Lady's Turban

A little while ago we announced a new knitting kit available to buy from the knitonthenet shop, the Greta Turban, pictured above. Well, it has now been added to the Ravelry pattern database, so if you've been secretly knitting away you can let the (online knitting) world know! There are a few already in production.

But what is a turban? It may not be quite what you think.

Although knitted turbans were all the rage for ladies in the 1940s and had a very practical purpose for wartime women, the style was fashionable far before that.

The turban first came to prominence in the twentieth century in 1920 when fashion designer, Paul Poiret created his famous Maharaja Turban, inspired by the Ballet Russe. It was a totally new style of headwear and was the thing to be seen wearing as an avante garde lady in Paris. The turban remained a popular style of hat through the 1930s as it covered and flattered the new shorter hairstyles of the time.

By the late 1930s, war loomed and although hats were not rationed during the Second World War, knitted hats did become fashionable due to shortages in straw and other materials used commonly in hat-making. In 1941, British Vogue described the hat as the 'traditional tonic' to cheer in bad times. They particularly recommended the turban as the most practical hat that you could wear, reasoning that 'when tough winds blow and taxis are scarce, you [will] remain imperturably groomed.'

Seen on workers and ladies of leisure alike, the turban was a mainstay of the war. It was thought to have been popularised by the Parisian milliner, Paulette who was known a the 'Queen of the Turban' in later years as her turbans remained very popular with ladies into the 1950s and beyond.

So if you've been inspired to knit a turban for youself, please do visit the knitonthenet shop where the Greta Turban kits are available to buy for £25 in a range of four colours. Watch out for more new designs which will be added over the coming weeks too. The pattern will also be available as a PDF download very shortly. 
Happy knitting
Ingrid x
All images copyright Arbour House Publishing

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

About Publishing and Change: a guest post from Woolly Wormhead.

Arbour House Publishing have been lucky enough to work with and publish Woolly Wormhead's marvellous hat knitting books for a number of years now. Sadly, the decision has recently, jointly, and amicably been made that we are not going to be publishing Woolly's books anymore.  

Woolly has written about it very eloquently on her own blog, and has kindly allowed us to repost her words here.

About publishing, and change.

Some of you may remember when I started working with Arbour House Publishing a few years ago. Having first published Going Straight through Lulu, the chance to work with a small publisher couldn't be missed.

And they have been wonderful to work with – they've allowed me creative freedom, we've had many informative discussions about layout and content, and they have enabled my books to reach a whole world of knitters who had no idea my designs existed. Being a small, ethically led company, they've taught me much about the behind the scenes concerns of publishing, much of which most of us don't see, and how that can impact the side of business that we do see. Over this time we've developed an unusual and strong relationship, one that is unique to the publishing world, and one that has allowed us to develop our strengths without compromise. And it's allowed the friendship between Susan and myself to grow.

Sadly, we now need to tell you that we aren't able to carry on as we are, and that Arbour House will no longer be publishing my books.

After much discussion, we can't find a practical way to go forward. Because of our unique relationship, which allows me to maintain the rights to my work, I'm a low profit author for them. With all 3 books due for reprinting, and a 4th one due for release, the investment needed to keep all books in print at a reasonable wholesale cost would have been difficult. Had the investment been made, neither of us would have earnt anything from the books for many months, if not years, with Arbour House running at a loss for a period of time, and that to me didn't sound like the best business investment. Arbour House aren't a big corporate publisher, they are small, independent one with limited funding, funding that I felt would be better spent elsewhere. After tentative discussions with Susan, we both agreed that this was the best way forward. It's best for both businesses, the risk is reduced, and there won't be a strain on our friendship.

The last week or so has been difficult, but as the dust has settled, it's clear that we've done the right thing. Susan and her family are coming over in May for a visit and it's going to be lovely to spend time together and have a real holiday without the need to talk about business.

Going forward, I've been working on a plan or two. I was thrown into a bit of a tizz for a few days, trying to get my head around the available options but it's starting to come together. And ironically, I'll be going back to POD, at least for a while.

CreateSpace is an Amazon owned company, with very competitive printing costs for full colour books. They will get my books onto Amazon, into certain distribution outlets in North America, and wholesale to stores will also be possible. As much as it seems like a backwards step, going from a small independent to a corporate giant, it's the best thing to do right now. Sometimes, we're not in a position to make the decisions that please our inner moral code.

I'm not sure yet whether this will be the long term plan, but for now, it will keep my books available in print. There are a few more things that need to be done before they will be available for sale, and once those are done, I'll be able to direct you to where you'll be able to purchase them.

This change has bought about a huge amount of work, most of which isn't visible on the surface. I hope you can appreciate our reasons, and bear with me while I get a few things straightened out.
From: Woolly Wormhead, 
Susan, Gavin and Ingrid, the Arbour House team

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