Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Colours all over the bloody place

And again I've done loads on my to do list! Instead of just listing what I've done I thought I might actually speak to you today. haha. Imagine that! Lots of new colours in - some that came in a few weeks ago in all honesty but never made it onto the internet... Bad yso.... Anyway, let's start with something brand new!

 Ahhhhhh. They've done it again! Cygnet have brought out the BEST superchunky!!!! Cygnet Seriously Chunky Mixes. So, just to be clear, this is the same stuff as the Seriously Chunky but there are hints of other colours in there too! AMAZING! Here's a closer look at what is potentially my favourite - the Parsley: 

It's truly beautiful isn't it!? Phwooooooar! I do think it's a funny time of year to release it but then it did hail yesterday and I'm shivering a little as I type so maybe not. This yarn, as lots of you have discovered, is perfect for homeware - blankets, cushions and baskets. It's great for crochet baskets - you need an 8mm hook (or so), start with a circle in dcs but don't use sl-sts, do the thing where you go round and round in a spiral. Once it's wide enough then you can stop increasing and just work upwards until it's your perfect basket height. Wonderful!

I can't wait to see what people do with this. I must admit that the Endive is already sold out because a lovely customer of mine bought all ten of the balls in the pack literally about half an hour after I signed for the boxes, haha. Hard life. It'll be back in asap, don't worry!

I'm very happy with these, very very happy. Once more for the google ratings, that's Cygnet Seriously Chunky Mixes.
Now, moving on. Here we have lots of new colours that have come in over the last few weeks. The oldest of the lot are the new colours of the King Cole Merino Aran.

We've had these in for about a month and they have gone down a storm. They do brighten up the range a bit which I'm thrilled about because this works so well as a worsted weight yarn which means that the internet knitters and crocheters amongst us can use it interchangeably without any frustrations. It washes beautifully and it stays smooth for like ever. Particularly good for cables and colourwork because of that smoothness. Beautiful. These new colours make me want to knit them all together in a big old.... baby blanket? Hmmmmm. Somebody needs to have a baby quick! And again for the google rankings: King Cole Merino Aran

Next up we have the amazing King Cole Bamboo DK which has been our most popular yarn for a looooooong time.

Now, Sugar Pink and Pale Green I can live without. Both lovely colours but both slightly brighter versions of colours we've already got. I think that's why I can do without them. But the Bluebell and the Wisteria - HOW DID I LIVE WITHOUT THESE?!??!!? HOW?!?!!? The Wisteria is a proper mid purple, it makes every other purple look 'right'. I didn't realise that there was something missing before but there was. And the same for the Bluebell. It's so bright and beautiful, it makes every other blue in the range look grey. Which is fine, denim-y type blues are useful and lovely in their own right, but I need a BRIGHT BLUE! Readers! What can I make with this?!!?!?!?! And once more for the google rankings: King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK.

Next up, I need to speak about King Cole Bamboo Cotton 4ply which was introduced last year with a range of the top 10 Bamboo Cotton DK colours that all ended up being pretty.... reserved. 

 These six colours make the Bamboo Cotton 4ply into a party yarn! OOOOOOOHWEE! The Verdi and the Turquoise are perfect summer yarns - they look great with a tan. This reinvigorated love for the 4ply has come together with me doing some research for a vlog to be released in a couple of weeks and I've found this pattern: 

Ada - Lacy Shells top by Vicky Chan. How gorgeous is that!?!?!? I know, I know. I need to make it. So obvious choices for the colours are Verdi and Turquoise but then I thought...... 

From the top:

Pebble - Dusty Pink - Plum

OMBRE! Isn't that just divine?!?!!? But it's none of the new colours is it? But does that matter???  CAN I DO IT?!?!! Can I do it in time for pattern of the week? It's only Wednesday and after answering e-mails I'm done with my to do list. EEEEE!

Aaaaaaaand let's just talk a bit about the Pricewise DK a little to calm things down.

These are another three brand new colours and none of them are really inspiring me but they are colours that were missing from the range so they're good kind of workhorses. Which suits the yarn. It'd be unlikely that you'd hyperventilate about any double knit acrylic but it is good and cheap and nice to work with and it washes well so it's what you come back to again and again. Lovely Pricewise.

That's it. I've got to answer e-mails and then start that top (dress?????) Ombre?!?!?!?! WHAT SHALL I DOOOOOO???

Love Eleanor. xxxxxx

P.s. The British Knitting Awards have opened for voting and we'd LOVE to win for a third year running. Click here to vote. Otherwise, gimme until tomorrow and I'll talk you through potential options. :)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

It's Amazing

How different you feel when you've got some stuff done, isn't it? I really feel like I'm getting somewhere compared to this blog post here. I had a day off yesterday - regularly scheduled but much appreciated - and I got shit done.

I woke up more or less with Chris when he went to work, so just before eight. Had a cup of coffee and made a vlog. Parcelled up some yarn and took it to the Post Office in Beeston. I got my headphones working and downloaded a few podcasts to listen to on the way. The local Post Office is closed so I had to go a whole lot further which was quite nice as I had to walk up the High Street. Once that was done I picked up a card for Chris parents as they've had a bereavement and that made me feel like a normal adult human being with compassion for other humans - imagine that. Then I nipped into a charity shop and picked up these beautiful shelves:

 £1.99 each! BLOODY BARGAIN!

Then when I got home I had a lot of tidying to do. The gasman was coming to do something with the boiler and Chris had asked me to move some of the piles of his electrical stuff and tools. I did better than that. I moved his whole front room around and took all of his tools and shoved them on his spare bed. He loved that!

I've been telling him to sort it out for weeks and he keeps saying he will. Now not only does he get piles of electrical stuff on his bed he gets shamed on the blog. haha. In the corner of this room I've set myself up a little office with a reconditioned pc that he's fixing for me but it's not working yet so I perched there with the laptop and did a few more vlogs. 

 It's going to get better. And by better I mean tidier. For a short while. Then it'll look like this again...

Then I had to carry on sorting downstairs. And tidy the kitchen because that's where the boiler is. And I had a quick half hour so I made a curry/bake thing for later. Delicious. Then I put the washing out. Dried the washing up and put it away. By then the gas man should have been but he wasn't so I spent a good hour sorting out some papers for accounting. Nowhere near where it needs to be to be done though... But I'll get there...

When the gas man turned up I went back to the office and started looking into how to edit videos for the vlog. Managed one little one which is the least professional thing I think I've ever done and that's saying something... Then the gasman was done and as I was paying Chris came home. I persuaded Chris to do a vlog once we'd said goodbye to the gasman. And once that was done, I got him to cook the rice because he's very good at it, whilst putting up my shelves:

I filled them. We ate dinner. I wrote out my card for his mum and sent a little gift to the nephew too. Then we tidied around here, brought in the washing and did an hour's worth of yoga. Had a shower, got ready for salsa and then when Chris was in the shower I did a vlog whilst starting a new project. Then he was ready to go, we did salsa and felt like we were gonna die and on the way home we discussed stars, light, the universe and the meaning of life before eating rhubarb crumble and going to bed. 

Anyway, I promise this blog wasn't going to be a list of stuff I did yesterday but that's entirely what it ended up as and you'll have to coco because I have a million things to do and I'm not getting behind on my to do list now I've vaguely caught up on it. It is a blog afterall....

Lots of love, Eleanor. xxxxxxx

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Pattern of the Weeeeeeek - King Cole's Zig Zag Sock Pattern

**This is the blog I wrote two weeks ago and didn't publish because of Pi day. So I'm bloody doing it now. :)*

No video. I'm in a rush to make this and another blog post happen before I die of tiredness. But I really didn't want to miss a week of this, neither do I want to not do the other one because this blog is not just about the pattern of the week it is about me and the shop and all of the other good things happening here. But the last three weeks or so have been mad. Anyway. I'll explain that in the other blog I'm writing that will be posted before this one is so this makes no sense. Anyway, the pattern:

There were lots of patterns in contention for this week's pattern of the week - the Duck, the jumper that I showed you last week, the new ones that have come with the Patons Washed Cotton DK and the King Cole Big Value Recycled Aran. But, for various reasons, I couldn't and then Sarah came in today with a little struggled at the bottom of her toe, finished a sock in the shop and made us all squeal with happiness at how fantastic she is. LOOK!


Now, every time you buy a ball of the Zig Zag 4ply you get a free pattern for these socks. We've had the Zig Zag in since the very first day so we've had this free pattern in since the very first day. We're now on the fourth version of this pattern and I wish I'd kept a copy of each. It doesn't change by much each time but they rephotograph some of the designs in new colours and often add a new leg design. The way that it works is that you have lots of different ideas for legs - usually based in some way on an interesting rib - and then you come together, no matter what leg you're doing, for the heel and the foot. They use a really traditional flap and turn heel which I do think is the easiest way to learn a heel. Not because the stitches are any easier than any other heel but because the 'scary' bit or the 'bit that doesn't make sense' doesn't last for very long. Heel flap? Dead easy. Heel turn? SCARY SCARY SCARY! At least the first time that you look at it. My first top tip - if you're a new sock knitter - don't think about it. Just follow it line by line. It will blow your mind. 

Now, there's a new copy of the pattern out with the brand new colours of the Zig Zag and it is the lovely one I showed you above. 

Phwooooooar. They're good aren't they? The beautiful thing about socks is that you can knit them without making your bum look bit or worry about looking like a clown - they're hidden under trousers if you want them to be (I don't, I want the world to see how good I am at knitting....).

I'm not going to go through why you should knit socks for socks sake - I've written about that all over the place. But what I do think it's good for it learning techniques: working in the round (double points or magic loop though this pattern's written for dpns and I do think that it's worth sticking with those if this is your first project, as Sarah found out... ), slipping stitches, short row shaping, picking up stitches, leaning decreases, kitchener stitch. All of these techniques on a tiny little thing! They're also bloody brill for taking around with you, so it you're the sort of person that needs to sit down and concentrate on your knitting, I would suggest picking up a ball of Zig Zag - and therefore this pattern - casting on and taking it around with you. You'd be surprised at how much knitting you can get done in a queue or at a friend's house or visiting a pub or if you're on tv! Haha.

Now, talking about skills, let me give you a top tip. At some point in the sock, and I'll try not to give the pattern away, you have to pay for that  ;) (or at least the yarn...), you have to pick up stitches, and the proscribe exactly the amount of stitches you have to pick up. I SAY IGNORE THEM! Pick up as many stitches as you need to (I say this is general too, but specifically for socks) because after this point, you do a load of decreases until you get back to the original stitch count so you can do more decreases. Yes? When I say ignore them - if they're saying pick up 15 stitches and you're picking up 45 then something's gone wrong, but 20? Yeah, you're fine.

And finally, the pattern is written for 3mm double pointed needles. These will work. I promise. But I reckon that the smaller the needle a sock is knitted on the longer it will last, the yarn just has less space to wiggle around and rub against itself and that's what causes problems. So I always suggest that you go for a 2.75mm double point. You can go smaller, and we stock them, but you tend to find that price goes up (£2.50 to £6, so pretty steep) because they're deemed more 'specialist'. Worth investing in if you end up liking socks, but if you're buying the Zig Zag Sock Yarn wanting this pattern (rather than knowing one off the top of your head like most sock knitters end up doing) then I'm gonna say you're a beginner and it's worth not spending your life savings before you decide whether you're going to do it again. Although, I'm a shop, deffo spend more money if you want.... Haha.

So that's it. I'm glad to have featured this pattern actually, it's been one of the stalwarts since we first opened and so many of you have learned to knit socks from it. Such a lovely thing to knit and wear and a great thing to get into at this time of year - nice and small to take with you when you're out and about, not gonna make your lap sweaty and lots of socks ready for winter! PERFS!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxx

Friday, 20 March 2015

Quickest Blog Ever

I'm not even sat down for this but it felt more like a blog post than a Facebook one.

 This is what I'm wearing today:

I have spoken about it before but not in great detail. There'll be no detail today either. This is the first cardigan that I ever designed and the one that taught me so much. There's a special kind of decrease in there that I now have no idea how I did it. One day I'll work it out. Whilst I was knitting it though I forgot to put buttonholes in so I used my paltry crochet skills at the time to make these ties which never really fitted well. I then stash dove for some lovely vintage buttons and was pleased. I wore it a lot.

Then I lost the bottom button.

And I wore it very little after that.Sometimes I put a brooch on instead but never really liked it. Today, however, I found this Yarn Floozie badge which some lovely customer bought me at the first Yarndale (who are youuuuuuuu?!?!?). It's perfect. The colour, the size, the fact that I'd forgotten about it till today. It's perfect. So this is now a wearable cardigan again. How cool is that?

That's it.

Love, Eleanor. xxxxx

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

New Yarn! Reflections On It!

Sooooooooo. Part of the reason that I've not killed myself worrying about not putting blogs up is, well, don't let perfect be the enemy of the good, but also that I've started doing regular vlogs. You can find them by clicking here. They're not supposed to take over instead of the blog, they're supposed to supplement. But actually doing them is so much easier than sitting here and writing! I just hang around for ten minutes, have a chat, switch off and then upload as I do other stuff like make orders, pay people, speak to customers, clean, tidy (not that you'd be able to tell...). But, that swift, 'oh my god I've got to talk about this' does mean that I don't take so much time to reflect and ponder. So the video that I put up yesterday was all about the brand new King Cole Big Value Recycled Aran and it was made on the day, or maybe the day after, it came in the shop. I knew I loved it but what I didn't know was how BLOODY BRILL IT IS TO KNIT!

Now, I am nowhere neeeeeeear finishing it, so don't expect any more photos really. Bits of jumpers don't photograph well at all. But I do have a sleeve, a back, a front and the rib of a second front done. The sleeve only took a day to knit so once I've got this front done bish bash bosh I'll be there, pretty much.

Anyway, the reflective bit, it feels like an old sweater. It feels like something you'll want to put on day in day out. It feels like something you've already loved before. It knits QUICK! And takes a cable beautifully - that's means good stitch definition. That's as reflective as I get I'm afraid.

Anyway, colours:

And therein you see my problem. The colours are GREAT. Lovely. Every single one. There's not a dud in there. But it doesn't 'merchandise' well. As in, I can't make a rainbow on a shelf. Which kills me. Haha. But a rainbow on a shelf does not a beautiful jumper make. 

The price is ridiculous - £3.00 for 100g. That's ridiculous for a 100% pure natural fibre. Now, I think it's probably because 15% of that is recycled cotton t-shirts. Which means that in some of the colours you almost get a nobbly bobbly different colour type of texture - it shows most in the Sage colourway but also a little in the Crocus too. I've no idea however about the Cream, Pebble and Cornflower because by the time the rep got to show me the yarn they were already sold out. That's how popular it is. :)

Now, in terms of patterns, I think they've done really well. Lots of homeware:
4145. This took my breath away the first time I saw it! It's gorgeous. The only thing that might put me off is that it's knitted all in one. I think it would be worth it though but I do have to finish the two blankets I have on the go. And I probably won't be doing it in the Pebble... Maybe the Sage.

At the absolute other end of the scale - number 4147 - tiny little wash cloths and face cloths and OVEN MITTS! IMAGINE THAT! I never really thought about knitting them before but on here you double up the aran and knit it on a small needle and bob's your uncle, it's heatproof. The handsome rep left me a pair t'other day when I ordered it and they're hanging up in the shop. Not for long though, once I've finished the amazing pink cardigan, they're coming home with me. Mwahahaha.  

Can you see them?? 

 My other stand out is this one:

Which Chris needs in his life, not that he knows... Isn't it great? I adore how simple but busy it is an the not to ganseys which are a slight obsession of mine... King Cole 4144.

Now, don't get me wrong, the other patterns are amazing too, specifically the one that I'm knitting (4142), but I am time limited at the moment and I'm not letting perfect be the enemy of the good. Do check out the other patterns by clicking here though.

Right, I have an million e-mails to answer and I need to cash up because it never happened last night, and I have to sort some orders and try and get warm and then get home. I have 19 minutes. Wish me luck.

Love Eleanor.xxxxxxx

P.s. Annnnnnd once more for the google stats - King Cole Big Value Recycled Aran.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of The Weeeeeeeeeeeek - Sailing Pi

I had a whole blog post written out for today and then I realised after a text from the Boyf that it's only bloody PI DAY! In fact it's Pi year!!!! I'm not going to explain much about it apart from the number pi - which is a bloody special one - is 3.141592653...... Anyway, today, if you're American the date is 3.14.15. IT'S BLOODY PI DAY! We don't do our dates the same way that they do and we'll be waiting a long while for a 14th month so we've got to piggy back on theirs haven't we? Anyway, it's an excuse for pie and to celebrate my Sailing Pi Shawl. :)

 I'm so annoyed that you can see the join between the two photos now. I know how to get rid of that! Ahhh the things you learn.

So, Sailing Pi was part of the yarn boxes from last year (still in the pipeline for next, don't worry). It was a design that I came up with years ago to use up some handspun and a little bit of Rowan Kidsilk Haze up.

This is one of the only photos of the original. I wore it to death, lost it loads and always got it back until my mum felted it. The bastard. Whilst on holiday in Weston Super Mare I bought the yarn to remake it and ended up with this beaut: 

Which I love almost as much as the original but not quite.

Whilst that shawl was still a twinkle in my eye I got the idea for the yarn boxes and knew that this was the perfect pattern to write so eventually, it got written up. I decided to use the Bamboo Cotton 4ply and DK because the DK is a best seller and most of you will have used it but the 4ply was brand new in at the time and calling my name and most of you wouldn't have used it. A lovely mix of the old and the new. I do think that this design benefits from having a lighter weight and a heavier weight yarn used because it's all part of the texture. However, I am planning a Riot DK version held with the Cosmos for the stripes in the near future. So near it might be this weekend in fact.
So, the stripes in this shawl are based on the Fibonacci sequence and they are incredibly simple to learn. It's explained at the beginning of the pattern as well as written in through the pattern so you really have two options - either read the explanation and do it from that (this would suit my type of knitting) or follow the rows religiously. Either way works!

It's a funny old shape - like a half hexagon. I chose that specifically because I like it after having made a larger shawl like this - it looks good with a big bum. Haha. So although this is on the small side of shawling, I stuck with the same shape.

 (Please excuse the phone screen shot - I've been trying to write this all day - it's got to 6.32 and I want to go home - I also want to write this and my phone's being a tit so you'll have to put up with it).

My top tip though - and it's kind of similar to the top tip in this Pattern of the Week - is read your knitting not your pattern. There are two 'spines' that run down this pattern where the increases happen. They're introduced on the very first row pretty much. The idea is that when you get there you yarn over, knit the spine and yarn over. You don't always do that so I've not just given away the pattern. Haha. But you do do it quite often. Don't think that you have to count count count when actually you can just look look look and then get it right. After a couple of rows I promise it becomes really very obvious. Lots of my customers that have made this have come to me with the same query - I'm getting stuck and feel like I'm counting all the time when you're saying it should be easy - friends, knitting should always be easy. If you feel like throwing it across the room either you're wrong, the pattern's wrong or the yarn's wrong. Put it down and come back to it. But often, like I've said again and again, there are 'markers' in your knitting and once you've found them the whole of everything falls into place. So - read your knitting not your pattern. Yeah?

So, the Sailing Pi is knitted on a 4mm needle with one 4ply yarn (or thinner if you fancy) and one DK yarn. I suggest using a circular needle because you do end up with a lot of stitches and if we're to be reading our stitches then we need to be able to spread them out to see them and if it gets a little heavy on your wrists then the circulars will allow the weight to be placed on your lap. And it really does only into knits, purls and yarn overs (don't know what they are? They're what you do when you go from knit to purl like in ribbing, you pull your wool to the front through the middle of the needles) - a bloody brill introduction to knitting shawls and everybody should have a  knitted shawl even if they think they done like them - Elaine can testify to that after falling in love with her Sailing Pi whilst wearing it around America.

And because I took the photos for this pattern on holiday in Norfolk, I can justify one last holiday pic:

Oh to be back there, drinking red wine out of a plastic cup and eating warm soft cheese and smoked salmon with crusty bread waiting for the sunset. What a holiday.

Next week, I have a pattern of the week that I wrote yesterday which takes some of the pressure of this week doesn't it! Bloody brill!!!!

I'm off to eat some of Boyf's homemade pie because it's PIIIIIIIIIIII(e) DAY!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 13 March 2015

Love and Apologies

To begin. An apology. The blog is not supposed to be just about pattern of the weeks but that's all I seem to have had time for for AGES! I have been knitting and crocheting, mostly to save my sanity and extremely busy days. I don't know how you lot do it! There is so much going on here and I can't seem to keep up with you all - jumpers, socks, hats, scarves, throws, bloody all sorts flying off needles and hooks. Please don't think I'm complaining but that along with a load of new patterns and yarns mean that I'm like a proverbial duck, constantly paddling to keep up. There has also been some stress with a man posting horrendous things about us all over the internet, the website literally breaking, some more stress at home and a quick tv appearance. I haven't been keeping up with yoga or with cleaning or with general household duties which means that I had to wear cold wet leggings to work t'other day. Luckily I had a million things to do before I opened the shop so I quick walked and steamed the excess water out so I was dry by the time I got to the shop. Haha. Something else exciting has been happening behind the scenes. I hope this happens again actually but that I'm more prepared for the process next time.

But I have now had the first day in like three weeks where I'm more on top of things. I got some new yarns on the internet over the last couple of days, I got some new patterns on the internet today (not all of them mind...), I've read my personal e-mails, fixed the scanner, done a new banner for the facebook page and started a project that looks like it's not going to end up in tears and flinging across the room.

unlike most of the other stuff I've made recently. And it is beautiful. 

I finally feel like I'm no longer drowning. Apologies if you've been into the shop recently and I've been misery-gutsing. I'm trying to keep chipper about it all but there really is so much to do, I have to prioritise rather than getting it all done and that's a killer. Usually, even if I have a lot of work to do I can see the end of it and maybe a day that I can dedicate to knitting but that's just not been the case recently. Although it is now. At some point next week I will have a 'day off in the shop' and it will be lovely.

I also have a list of blogs I want to write so once I've got my next lot of patterns on the internet, my next lot of lessons up for sale, finished the two shop samples that I started this week, done the last lot of processing for the secret thing, hoovered and made a couple of orders (before which I have to get to the bank) then expect a big splurge of my inner thoughts. IT WILL BE EXCELLENT!

Until then, I leave you with this marvelous photo: 

Which is a jelly bean competition that me, Jan and Liv partook in today. Jan's idea entirely. The Jelly Bean Company (or whatever they're called - the posh ones - you know them) have brought out a packet of beans where the colours can be either one of two flavours - toothpaste or blueberries, dog food or chocolate pudding, smelly socks or tootie frootie, vomit or peach, you know the kind of thing. We ate each one at the same time as eachother and it was a delightful distraction as well as a sort of celebration of the secret thing that has been happening that I still can't bloody tell you about. SOON MY PRETTIES SOON!

That's it, I have work to do, LOVE AND APOLOGIES,

Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxx

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeeeeek - 3332

Baaaaaack to knitting again after a couple of weeks of mad crocheting. But if you see the jumper I was going to feature you'll understand....

had slight gauge issues. I'm planning to have that fixed and ready for next week's pattern of the week but in the meantime I'm gonna feature a pattern that we've had in for nearly three years I think. Inspiringly named 3332. 

It's the dress I'll be concentrating on. Now, you really do have to look past the styling on this one I think. Although, apparently gilets and faux fur are right on trend. Not my cuppa tea iykwim. Anyway, in the shop I try and buy 20% 'ugly' yarn. This means, for my money, brown... Brown is not my colour. I am coming round a little to it - especially the Harris in the Chunky Tweed... phwoar... But then it struck me that maybe I should be knitting shop samples in 20% 'ugly'. So, a brown dress. Yes?

It's brown and also, I've mostly hated myself in knitted dresses (it actually comes directly from trying on a brown dress once in Monsoon and it was HORRIFIC!) so, for me, this is 'ugly'. Not as in like 'omg, I'm gonna puke, get it away from me now', more like 'it's gonna look great on someone else...just not me...'. And I can indeed attest to the fact that since everybody's started noticing this dress in the corner over the last few months and I've seen it knitted numerous times it looks GREAT on! Some people shorten it - nobody's lengthened it - but everybody looks great. Imagine it with leggings and boots and maybe a denim jacket? Not in brown? Ahhhhh, that's so much better. Haha. Sorry for everybody that likes brown... It seems to suit those with a large bust (in comparison with their body) best and I've no idea why because it shouldn't given that it's such a high neck. Rules ain't rules apparently.

So the sizes start at 32" and end at 44" but there's a good 3" of ease there (which I'm probably going to talk about next week...) so it'll be suitable for those with a bust of up 50" I reckon, but probably not my very slim ladies unless you want to do some adjustments (which would be very easy). It's originally knitted for the Moorland Aran - which is gorgeous, and I love how it works with these big structural cables - but lots of people have used the Fashion Aran or the Grousemoor Aran which are both great for those on a budget and for those of us that like a brighter colour, the Moorland is very much a 'natural' range. If you're in the shop though, do look out for Shale colourway in the Moorland and it is an actual stunner - like a beige but with warm, almost pinkish undertones and a hint of grey. Would look stunning! Even if it is beige... Elizabeth likes it anyway... It uses standard 4.5mm and 5mm needles and a cable needle too.  

 Now, I've taken a photo of the stitches:

But you can't see what I'm trying to say, so I reckon it's time for some artwork. 

Clear as mud right? Well, I'm here with the first of two top tips for today. Two folks, I'm am spoiling you aren't I?!

So, the whole pattern is 24 rows, you do the cable on the 17th row and knit it in stocking stitch apart from that. The background is.... moss stitch... of sorts. I hesitate to name it because I've heard at least three variations of what it might be called but I'd tend towards double moss stitch. Essentially, two rows of a knit two purl two rib and then swap over so two rows of a purl two knit two rib. Yeah? Because the two rows of a stitch are much more identifiable than a one row standard moss stitch you can use this as a counter even if you're a beginner. So, the way that I worked it out was whenever I was on a right side I was changing the stitches over - knits for purls and purls for knits - and whenever I was on a wrong side I was working them as is. Then, I could easily count how many of these blocks I'd made since I'd last cabled to see when a cable was due again - 12 full blocks and you're onto a winner. Those blocks are shown on the artwork in the blue and green diamonds - can you see? You might even put a marker on the block that represents your full 24 rows because it's always difficult to decipher the exact moment when a cable has happened, pulling stitches well over stitches (which is all a cable is) is going to disturb the smooth running of them isn't it?

So I guess the first top tip, from one knitter to another, is try to do away with row counters and marks on paper as much as you can. Doesn't help you when you've got your knitting and forgotten you accoutrements does it? Just like in lace patterns, as we discussed here and here, there are often 'markers' in a pattern that you just need to be able to see to understand. Yes? 

And to start my next top tip, I ask of you just one small task, look back at this photo and tell me where my mistake is:

I've made it as big as possible. Look again. Still can't see it? 

It's right there on the neck. See? I forgot how to rib... apparently... My top tip is to relax! You do the neck bit last so it would be a really quick fix just to whip out a few rows, sort it and work back but I didn't notice it until I'd had it knitted for a year and literally nobody else has managed to point it out to me without me pointing it out first. And yet, if I'd have seen this when I was a beginner I'd have been SO upset with myself. I'm pretty convinced that the better you get at knitting the faster you make the mistakes, the easier you find it to fix them and the more able you are to determine if they even need fixing. There's really only a few ways to make a knit and purl stitch so once you've learned that you're as good as the rest of us. :)

And that's it. Once more for the google rankings: King Cole 3332.

I promise at least two, non pattern related blogs next week. This week has just been... tiring and busy from the start. I am looking forward to a day off. In two days. Ahhh the life of a YSO.

Love Eleanor. xxxx