How to be a Great Test Knitter

How to be a Great Test Knitter

A good test knitter is like star dust. They are precious and any designer would be silly to let them go. They are difficult to find. Rare like a white peacock and something that I, as a designer, value immensely. However, being apart of this rare breed is not difficult if you just listen to what the designer needs and completes the task accordingly. After all, being a test knitter can be a rewarding experience. Although every designer requires something different, and may or may not offer rewards for your time, you are, at the very least, witnessing a design in it’s fledgling form, helping a designer out more than you know, and getting a pattern for free! 

Here are a few tips to becoming a great test knitter…

Eight Tips to Becoming a Great Test Knitter

1. Read the entire request

Just looking at the pretty picture of the beautiful design and deciding you want to knit it is not enough. Designers have requirements that need to be fulfilled and you need to know if you can meet these requirements before you sign up to test knit. There will be schedules and usually the test knit is created around the release date of the new design. You must make sure you’re able to meet the expected deadline before you sign up.

You should also be aware of what is expected of you. Do you need to supply your own yarn or will it be sent? Do you need to take a photo of your finished object (FO)? Do you need to fill in a questionnaire on completion?
Read the post from start to finish and make absolutely sure you can fulfil all requirements, otherwise you are letting the designer down.

2. Be Truthful About Your Skills

People of any skill level can test knit. In fact, some patterns are aimed at new knitters and therefore require a novice to give it a go. I have personally needed new knitters to test knit for me and they are very hard to find.

Don’t be afraid to try test knitting, as long as you don’t jump into something you’ve never done (unless requested). Be honest about your experience and tell the designer if there is a technique you are unsure about.  They can adjust the test to fit your needs (I once switched an i-cord strap to just a garter stitch strap for a tester who had never done an i-cord before. She was able to complete the rest of the test as normal, and the i-cord was not the important part). It will also stop you from feeling trapped and stressed and backing out of the test or even putting your head in the sand, which a lot of test knitters do when they hit a snag.

3. Get Gauge

Pile of knitted swatches

I think at some point, every knitter will knit something without getting gauge first. Whether it’s a toy or a scarf, we’ve all done it. You’re just so excited to get on with that project. But test knitting is different. 

Getting gauge with test knitting helps a couple of different things. Is the gauge easy to obtain or have you had to drop five needle sizes to get it? And most importantly, does the item fit properly, now you have gauge. You can’t be a test knitter, telling the designer that the hat you just knit is far too big, if you didn’t get gauge. That isn’t helping anyone. 

Get Gauge!

4. Be Prepared for Ugliness

This might not be what you think. When a pattern is written up, it is usually in it’s basic form. Later it is added to the beautiful templates that we receive when we buy a pattern. But a test knitters pattern could be a few pages of text with no pictures. I’ve even seen designers photograph their note pads and send that out. Be prepared to deal with the un-pretty. You will more than likely receive the tidied up, beautiful version when the pattern is released.

5. Take Notes

When you begin the test knit, have a note pad next to you and be prepared to write anything down that seems wrong. You could even write straight on to the pattern print out if that makes it easier.

Remember, you are there to find any errors in the pattern. You are not there to sit back and happily work away blinded by any mistakes. You have a job to do and you need to be vigilant. Think about how you would feel if you purchased a pattern that had been test knit but was riddled with errors. I know I’d be pretty pissed off. The designer has worked hard but it’s easy to miss silly mistakes and it’s your job to pick them up. 

There could be a row of lace that doesn’t work out correctly because the ssk is missing off the end. Or a technique could be described in a way that doesn’t make sense.’

6. Do Not Make Changes to the Pattern

We all like to take things and make them our own, but when test knitting, that’s really not ideal. The designer needs to know that everything works exactly how he or she has written it. If you come back with; “yes it went well, I changed the needle size for the brim because I prefer a tighter brim, and I altered the crown slightly because I like a slouchier hat…” well, you haven’t knitted it as stated. The designer doesn’t know if his or her version fits properly around the brim or if the length is enough. You haven’t completed the test properly. They need to know everything is accurate and fits correctly. 

At the end of the day, you are receiving this pattern. You have all the time in the world to make another one with the alterations you wanted.

7. Be Communicative

Some designers will only want to hear from you at the end of the test, but others will want you to check in regularly. Personally, I like to check in. I have had a LOT of test knitters never message me again after receiving the pattern. So when someone goes very quiet, I panic and think they’ve run off. I like to know as soon as a tester has found a mistake so I can fix things asap. In fact, while I’m running a test, I have that pattern open in edit mode on my computer at all times. That way I can open the laptop, fix the error and close it again. 

For me, a quiet test knitter makes me nervous, but not all designers are the same so ask them what they require and stick to it. 

The only exception when a designer tells you to contact them at the end, is if there is a major error. Like the neck section is missing, or the pattern has huge chunks of text missing. Something detrimental to the pattern. The designer will definitely want to hear from you then!

8. And Finally

The critique isn’t complete until you have checked over the finished product. Is it a good fit? Does it look like the designers photos? Was the pattern easy to follow? Are you happy with the results? If you paid for the pattern, would you be happy?

You are the only one who can tell the designer all of this information. This is why they have hired you too. Not just to work through the pattern. Make sure you give them as much information as you can. And be honest about it.


To Summerise

This might all seem a little daunting if you have never test knitted before but really, it’s all just courtesy and common sense. Lets have a quick run down:

  1. Read everything thoroughly before signing up.
  2. Don’t jump in feet first, make sure you can handle the skills required.
  3. Get Gauge before you start the pattern.
  4. Be prepared for an ugly document.
  5. Take notes of all errors you spot and be vigilant.
  6. DO NOT make changes to the pattern. At All!
  7. Report back regularly so the designer knows you are still on board.
  8. Remember to critique the actually item as well as the pattern itself.

And there you have it. Don’t be scared, just go for it the next time you see a test knit you’d be interested in participating in. I advertise in my Ravelry group, in some of the other Raverly groups for test knitting, on my Facebook page and my Instagram too. So keep your eyes peeled to jump in on the next one.

Just remember those 8 golden rules and I’ll always be glad to have you back!


Ten Health Benefits of Knitting

Ten Health Benefits of Knitting

Learning to knit can be difficult. You need to train your hands to do the most simplest of knitting skills and in the beginning it can feel like you will never be able to manage it. But once you master it, after lots of practise, there is more to knitting than clothing yourself and your family through the winter.

Here are ten ways knitting keeps you healthy and that will make sticking out that learning curve really worthwhile:

1. Improved Motor Function.

Knitting stimulates almost your entire brain all at once. The Frontal Lobe carries out higher mental processes such as thinking, decision making, and planning as well as being the main force behind your motor skills. The Occipital Lobe is responsible for processing visual information from the eyes and passing the information to other parts of the brain to create memories of what you see. The Parietal Lobe deals with sensation. The fingers and hands are a primary site for sensory data, so much of the parietal lobe is dedicated to receiving and processing what they are doing. The Temporal Lobe forms memories (like the ones received from the occipital lobe) and recognises language. So it basically helps you read the pattern as this is, for all intent and purpose, another language.

Using all of these parts of the brain at the same time strengthens your mind and slows down cognitive impairment. It can help people with diseases like Parkinson’s to improve their motor functions by helping improve their fine motor skills and distracting from their painful symptoms.

2. Improvement of Concentration.

Knitting can help you to focus on one thing and therefore reduces hyperactivity and procrastination. It shifts your attention to the project in your hand and as you see it progress this reinforces the desire to concentrate and get the reward at the end.

3.  Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Depression.

Focusing on a task can help distract you from the anxiety, stress or depression that could be creeping in. After a few minutes of sitting down to knit your heart rate reduces and your blood pressure decreases so if you are feeling anxious reach for the knitting needles to reduce your symptoms.

Work in progress knitting

4.  Improves Memory.

Even with consistent dedication to develop skills, the most experienced knitter will still make mistakes. This teaches you to recall your errors so you can avoid them in the future.  Also, you know that tough lace pattern repeat that you had to read over and over for every row but then suddenly you knew it and didn’t need to look at the pattern again. Yeh, that.

5. Strengthens Arms and Hands.

The rhythmic motion of knitting can aid in the prevention of tendinitis and arthritis. Knitting for a few hours a day can exercise the hands and arms, strengthening the muscles.

6. Provides a Digital Detox.

Most of us are used to having our phones glued to our hands these days and the age of digital is definitely upon us. Knitting is a simple way to separate us from the electronics. It’s back to the old school way of doing things manually with our own hands instead of reenacting something in a computer game or relying on technology. It’s also less strain on your eyes when you are not looking at artificial lights all the time.

Work in progress sock knitting

7. Gives you “Me Time”.

When you knit, you choose which pattern to create, you decide how long you will knit for and you set yourself targets to finish something. This gives you the power of choice and in turn, gives you a sense of control over your “me time”. Knitting creates quality time to do something you want to do as a leisure activity.

8. Gives a Sense of Pride.

Knitting is goal driven and, regardless of what you make, you have a sense of pride at the end. Unless it’s a complete disaster of course! Pride stimulates your reward center and releases dopamine which makes you feel great. Knit a jumper, take on the world!

9. Creates Friendships.

Whether you join your local knitting group (stitch and bitch, knit and natter) or if you head to the online forums for a chat about your latest project, relationships are formed with people who have a mutual hobby. Something you can chat about and get enjoyment from. It can be a mentally healthy way to build friendships.

Swatch pile and work in progress

10. Builds Good Habits.

Not all habits are bad. Knitting has all of those 9 health benefits above and they are not to be sniffed at. The concentration it takes alone can keep your brain healthy, the skill keeps your hands and arm exercised, and the entire ability makes you more relaxed, more social and releases endorphins that make you happy. In my eyes, knitting is a very good habit to have.

So there you have it, ten ways knitting keeps you healthy. Which one surprised you? And which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below.

Kelly x

End of Summer Treat

End of Summer Treat

Happy Tuesday everyone!

So we are coming to the end of summer, at least here in the UK anyway, and I have been frantically trying to update all my summery patterns before September brings the beautiful Autumn. Yesterday I finally released the last warm weather garment pattern in my catalogue, Effervescence.

Effervescence summer top

I love this top. It’s the last garment I designed before I took a step back due to being pregnant with Rowan. If you followed my other blog you will already know the story of how I thought I’d written a great pattern, only for the magazine to contact me and tell me it was riddled with mistakes. When I read it over it made no sense at all and I realised my baby brain had taken full effect! I had to rewrite the entire thing with the help of the tech editor. It was utterly awful and very embarrassing too! But I know we ended up with a great pattern.

So… I wanted to let you know that until August 31st midnight BST, Effervescence has 50% off it’s usual price. You can currently download it from Ravelry or LoveKnitting.

This top is knitted in the round, bottom up, until the armholes, where it is separated for the top sections. It is worked in DK yarn on 4mm circular needles and comes in a range of sizes from 8 to 22 (UK dress size).

Effervescence top

But why stop at just one pattern for half price when you could have two!

Fauna is also half price until August 31st midnight BST!

Fauna top

Fauna is an intricate lace work top, worked in the round from bottom up and split into two sections after the armholes. Worked in DK on 3.25mm and 4mm needles, Fauna comes in sizes 6-8, (10-12, 14-16, 18-20, 22-24) UK dress size.

Original sketch of Fauna designI don’t have a story to tell you about this one. I’m going to be honest… I don’t remember designing it at all! I’m pretty sure I did since I have all the old sketches and submission sheets! But I have no memory of this one, which makes me a little sad in a way.

Fauna has 50% off until August 31st midnight BST and is available from Ravelry and LoveKnitting.

That’s all from me today. I will be back soon with more of the baby stuff and some insights into knitting design etc. It’s just taking me a while to get everything up to date for you guys, what with school holidays etc!

Until next time!

Kelly x

 

 

Catch Up!

Catch Up!

I have missed a few weeks of blogging over the last month because I made a huge decision in my vision for RowRow and Kades and where I wanted it to go. Originally I had intended it to just be baby knits for you to order from me but I kept looking at all my patterns from the past, just sitting there, and decided that I wanted to include them in the mix too.

So, the last few weeks, I have been busy updating all my patterns, knitting up some adult knits, and generally trying to give RowRow and Kades an over haul. It’s been tiring, and I’m nowhere near finished (will it ever end?!) but it’s getting there.

So let me give you a super fast run down of what we have so far.

You can now order adult hats to be made in a choice of 12 colours.

Hyades Beret hat pictured in Silver yarn
Hyades Beret

Holly Beret in Denim Blue
Holly Beret

Vionette Beanie Hat in Teal
Vionette Beanie

The knitting patterns for each of these hats are also available in my brand new knitting pattern section. More hats for adults will be available as soon as I can knit them up too.

There are also knitting patterns for some baby items like my Butterfly Bonnet and Ophelia Bonnet.

Butterfly Bonnet in Irish Cream
Butterfly Bonnet

Ophelia Bonnet in Lilac
Ophelia Bonnet

I am also going to be adding all my adult knitting patterns to my Etsy shop but as I am re-releasing a lot of them (due to them being out of contract with the magazine they were published in) I am giving most of them a period of time where you can download them for free. So if you are a knitter, the following two patterns are free for a limited time:

Ava shrug pattern
Ava Shurg Free until Aug 18th midnight BST
Capri Sunrise Vest Pattern
Capri Sunrise free until Aug 25th midnight BST

So there are lots of things happening and that’s why I haven’t been here to tell you all about it but I promise to get back to blogging asap. Hopefully in time for the next post due on Tuesday (next Tuesday!) I have one week to get my act together. I’m feeling hopeful!

Until then, tell me what you would like to see added to my Etsy shop in the comments below.

Kelly x

5,4,3,2,1, Things: RowRow and Kades

5,4,3,2,1, Things: RowRow and Kades

Kelly at her deskSome of you may know that I have been running a monthly guest blog for a serious of posts titled “5,4,3,2,1, Things”. I did it for a few reasons. One was to get an insight on other small businesses and learn about how they started and what makes them tick. Another was because blogging is hard and I wanted at least one blog post each month to be easy and done by someone else! After running them for a few months I decided that it wasn’t right for the blog anymore, and I want to focus more on the knitting, babies and motherhood side of things with a possibility of going into knitting design and a kind of behind the scenes in a small business type route too. So, here is the very last 5,4,3,2,1 Things post, and it’s all about me! RowRow and Kades.

Stitch bibles, flowers and yarn. My main inspirations

5 Inspirations

1. Inspiration is everywhere. Cliche I know, but it’s true. I find a lot of colour inspiration from nature. Knowing which work well together. Who knows the answer to that better than mother nature. She’s the boss of colour coordination!
2. Now I don’t want everyone to jump on me and scream “Copying!” down me ear, but I get a lot of inspiration from other knitwear designers. When I see knitwear 1 of 3 things that will pop into my head. I will either think, “Urgh, that’s awful!” If something is just truly not for me. Or I’ll think, “Ooh that’s nice but I think it would work better with these (pretty huge!) changes though. ie: take that stitch pattern from those socks and use it in a garment”. Or finally I think, “Oh wow….. I wish I’d thought of that”. The middle one gives me lots of inspiration and ideas. The last one makes me feel like an impostor!
3. My sons. Yeah yeah, bleck, sickly sweet, I know, but they do. It’s more of a “what should I make them to wear?”, “What would they like next?” type inspiration though. They turn the light bulb on.
4. Other clothing and accessories like cotton hats or tops. I try to think of ways to transform them into knitwear. I currently have an idea in my head for a jump suit type thing I saw in linen a few weeks back. It’s on the cards for next summer but I’m looking forward to playing with it.
5. This is almost like the second option but my stitch bible is a mass of inspiration. I flip through that most of the time, or delve into the Pinterest abyss and try to get out before I’m sucked in forever (How much of an actual time suck is Pinterest, seriously! I love the place but my god, you have to set hours aside to search for one thing! You inevitably get sucked into lots of avenues of “Ooh but it’s so pretty!” anyway….). My stitch bibles (I have a few) are filled with stitch patterns. On any given day, one that has never given me a second look before will burst into my head as a beret or cowl and I’m there. It’s quite strange. I love those books.

Tools

4 Tools I Use

1. I have a lot of tools but there are a handful I can’t do without. The first is my Chiaogoo circular needle set. I love aluminium needles best so these are perfect, plus I love the red cord! They are nice and pointy, but not too sharp (I have a hiyahiya circular that stabs me every time I use it!) and they are perfect for what I need. Plus the black and white case is gorgeous!
2. My tape measure. Well, let’s face it, I would be completely lost without a tape measure. I measure my work as I go, I measure my gauge swatches to see if there are enough sts per cm, I measure, measure, measure. Rowan broke my old tape measure and I felt like I’d lost an arm until I got a new one!
3. I’m going to combine two because I mostly use them together and that’s my scissors and yarn needle. I can’t snap yarn. It hurts. Have you tried it? Soft 100% wool yarn, maybe, some you can, but yarn with acrylic in (which I use for it’s longevity and machine washing capability) well, it will cut into your finger before you can snap it. Scissors are a must. Sharp scissors that you keep away from children and ban anyone in the house from using! My yarn needle is paired with this because I use it to sew in all the loose ends after I’ve finished knitting and then the scissor trim the ends off. So they are a little team and I need them desperately to make my work neat and tidy.
4. Finally it must be my row counter which is a little digital one I slot onto my finger and press the button each time I’ve knitted a row. Keeps me in check that little thing.

3 Things That Make My Work Unique

1. My work is unique because it’s mine. Everything I sell has been designed by me. It all first appeared in my brain, whether I was fast asleep and dreamed about it or I had an epiphany, I thought it up.
2. There are lots of sellers out there who use chunky yarn and knit chunky hats and blankets etc. They use this because it is quick to knit up. It grows faster and therefore saves them time. I don’t do that. I use thinner yarn so I can create the pretty patterns. It takes me longer to knit things because of that, but I want your hat to look like nothing else. Stunningly beautiful and not just a quick knit.
3. A lot of my work has appeared in magazines as a knitting pattern as well.

The top that caused my baby brain problems

2 Mistakes I’ve Made

1. When I first started to knit I had lots of really holey projects. I also once knitted a scarf without reading the pattern properly. It was one which you knitted up and then pulled out sections so it hung with loose yarn. Sounds weird but was very pretty. I knitted the entire thing and when I got to the section for ripping bits out, it didn’t work. The scarf wasn’t made to be left all knitted, it looked odd and was too small, it needed the sections to be pulled out. I actually contacted the designer to ask what I was doing wrong and she told me that I hadn’t used the right cast on. In my haste to start the pattern I had used a cast on method that doesn’t pull out. I had to pull the entire thing out and start again…which I didn’t do.
2. My last garment design for Let’s Knit Magazine was written up while I was pregnant with Rowan. It was a simple, straight forward pattern and I was happy with the result. Skip forward 4 months and the editor got back to me telling me there were errors in the pattern. This does happen, it’s human error, but when I looked at it, it made no sense what so ever. My baby brain had made a complete hash of it. I had to re-write the entire thing from scratch, still with baby brain, and a poor tech editor holding my hand the entire time. Awful! Baby brain sucks!

Vintage Twist Cardigan

1 Project I’m Proud Of

1. I have to say it’s my Vintage Twist cardigan. When I had the idea in my head I was so happy but actually managing to work it out for all the different sizes (UK 6 – 20) was really difficult. I actually knitted sections of every single size to make sure I had it right and I absolutely hated it when I’d finished. It is truly my nemesis! But now, I am so proud to have thought that up and managed to pull it off. It’s definitely one of my best designs.

 

So there we go. That’s the 5,4,3,2,1 things about RowRow and Kades. I hope you enjoyed it!
Tell me 1 thing you are proud of in the comments below!

Until next time!
Kelly x

Taking Flight Cardigan

Taking Flight Cardigan

Some of you may already know that along with knitting items for others, I also design patterns for knitters to knit. I have worked with some best selling UK magazines over the years but the main one I work for is Let’s Knit! Magazine. It’s only since having Rowan that I haven’t had regular designs on their pages and that’s because I took a step back. I have been designing more for them again lately and one which featured in the April 2018 issue was a cute little cardigan I have named “Taking Flight”.

Taking Flight Cardigan as it appeared in Let's Knit! Magazine
“Taking Flight” in Let’s Knit! Magazine

Since then I have been working on adding the cardigan to my list of items to sell. I knitted up a version for my little rep over in New Zealand since it is winter over there at the minute and quite cold. The results blew me away when I saw the photos of little Makayla wearing it!

Makayla wearing her Taking Flight Cardigan

How cute does she look in this! I am so happy with the photos! She looks so cute and that bow matches perfectly!

I was going to hold the cardigan until my Autumn/Winter collection but I just couldn’t wait once I received the photos from Makaylas mum, Ophelia. So I have released it into my Etsy shop already!

So here are the facts for you…

Taking Flight Cardigan in Silver

  • Taking Flight is named after a lovely friend mentioned the pattern reminded her of Geese in the V Formation.
  • It is knitted in a super soft merino blend DK yarn which is warm for winter but also not too dense that it can’t be worn as a cover for a cool summer evening.
  • The “geese formation” pattern wraps around the back of the cardigan and is also along the cuff of each sleeve.
  • It comes in a range of sizes. Currently available are 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months with larger sizes planned for later in the year.
  • There are also a wide range of colours to choose from when ordering this. Pictured above and worn by Makayla is Silver. But just look at all the other colours you can choose from:

Colour Chart for Taking Flight Cardigan

If you wanted it in the red from the top magazine photo, Ruby would be your best choice to go for.

 

So there you have it. Taking Flight is out now and available to order. It currently takes 1-2 weeks from the date of purchase to get this shipped out to you. I am so excited to start making these in all the colours you order! Which colour would you choose? Tell me in the comments below.

Before I go, I just wanted to let you know about the little survey I have going on at the minute. It’s purely just a market research survey and is super short. I’ve been telling people it takes 3 minutes but it seems most people are getting through it in just over 1 minute. Time is precious so I don’t want to take up too much of yours. If you could fill it out for me I would literally be over joyed. Plus it would really help with the future of RowRow and Kades.

Go To The Survey

Until next time!

Kelly x

5 Beautiful Tops to Knit for Your Summer Wardrobe

5 Beautiful Tops to Knit for Your Summer Wardrobe

A lot of people think that knitting is a winter hobby. When you think of knitting you think of woolly hats and scarves or mittens and gloves to shield you from the cold. But knitting can be just as wonderful for summer outfits too.

Here is my run down of 5 favourite tops to knit for this summer.

1. Lafayette Tunic by Lisa Hoffman

Model wearing the Lafayette Tunic
Photo Credit: Tahki Stacy Charles, Inc.

This tunic has such an olde worlde charm about it. I’m not sure if it’s just the way the photographs were taken but it reminds me of something the Bronte sisters would be wearing while they penned their masterpieces. It is a stunning top with delicate lace work and subtle shaping.

The Ravelry page states:

This drapey tank is knit in the round in linen-blend Audra, and features lace around the hem. The pattern also offers options for more advanced knitters.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Knitted in Stacy Charles Fine Yarns Audra which is a DK weight yarn on 3.5mm needles.


2. Deschain by Leila Raabe

Model wearing the Deschain top
Photo Credit: Pam Allen

I love the way this top is just one of those that you could have in your bag and throw it on whenever there is a nip in the air, no matter what you are wearing. A dress, some jeans, a pair of leggings, this top will just fit. It would also be ideal to take to the beach and pop on over your bikini top when the breeze is too much after a dip in the sea. Lovely design by Leila Raabe with that gorgeous lace flowing up the center.

The Ravelry page states:

The chained ribbon structure of our Kestrel linen creates striking textured lace, the focal point of Deschain by Leila Raabe. Designed with plenty of ease for a relaxed fit, this cropped boxy pullover is worked flat and then seamed, with slim sleeves picked up and worked in the round down to the cuff. Dropped stitches update the classic shale lace motif gracing the body’s front and hem.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Knitted in Quince & Co. Kestrel which is an aran weight yarn, on 6.5mm needles.


3. Maja – Kiito by Marita Rolin

Model wearing Maja - Kiito top
Photo Credit: Marita Rolin

How about something a little different with this unusual design by Marita Rolin. This vest top can be worn with the over lapping pieces to the front or the back. It’s a personal choice. I do like it in the back though. Think of the colour combinations this could have!

The Ravelry page states:

This garment is knitted in three pieces, from bottom up and seamed.
There is no real front or back. You can use it as you wish.
Using 2 strands of yarn held together.

Skill Level: Experienced (Lots of things happen at the same time)

Knitted in Habu Textiles A-1 2/17 Tsumugi Silk which is a 2ply Lace weight yarn (held double), on 4mm needles.


4. Balta by Gudrun Johnston

Model wearing Balta by Gundrun Johnston
Photo Credit: Gudrun Johnston/Kathy Cadigan

I do so love this pattern. The sheer elegance of it. So much so that I have two photos of this one because I want to explain exactly why I love it so much.

The first photo is beautiful. The girl sitting in the yellow chair. Her hair has that gorgeous gold to it that fits so well with the chair. Then there is that grey wall, which in text, sounds so drab, but grey is not drab. Grey is a stunning colour and it pulls you in. It fits so well with the silver grey of the Balta top and I feel like I’m looking at some Victorian photo instead of modern day. Finally the tattoos on her arm, which make you realise this is not Victorian, look like someone has just drawn them there. But they are so lovely. However, I don’t feel this photo does such a beautiful top the justice it deserves. The photo itself is so alluring but I am more drawn into the girls eyes than the top she is wearing. Which brings me to this photo…

Close up of Model wearing Balta by Gudrun Johnston
Photo Credit: Gudrun Johnston/Kathy Cadigan

This second photo of Balta shows you why I love the top. The detailing around the armholes is so pretty I have to make it for myself. The lace work and the picot edging work so well together with the keyhole opening in the back and that delicate button detail. It’s just exquisite.

The Ravelry page states:

The front and back are worked from the bottom up as separate pieces and seamed together at the sides. Short rows are used to shape the lower body.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Knitted in Quince & Co. Sparrow which is a sport weight yarn on 2.75mm, 3.5mm and 4mm needles.


5. Odele by Amy Christoffers

Model wearing Odele by Amy Christoffers
Photo Credit: Berroco, Inc.

So I thought we would finish with something a little subtle and less fussy since some of you might hate lace work altogether! So here we have Odele. Or Odele Tee as it is sometimes known. This is on my to do list for myself. Perfect with jeans, this is just a totally stunning summer wardrobe staple. It would be one of those tops that you would be a go to in a crisis. Lovely design.

The Ravelry Page states:

Your favorite t-shirt all dressed up, Odele is a simple t-shirt with a bit of waist shaping for a flattering fit.

Skill Level: Intermediate

Knitted in Berroco Mykonos which is a DK yarn on 3.5mm and 3.25mm needles.

So there we go. Told you knitting wasn’t just woolly hats and scarves. It can be beautiful and elegant and an ideal addition to your summer wardrobe too. Check out my Etsy shop for more summer items heading your way over the coming weeks and remember that everything is available in 100% cotton to make it cooler, just send me a message for the colour chart!

Happy Summer everyone! Oh I hope we get some sunshine in the UK!

Kelly x

P.S; which was your favourite summer top above? Will you be knitting one ready for the coming weeks? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Carolina Headband and Westlake Summer Hat

Carolina Headband and Westlake Summer Hat

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on my summer lines. It’s hard to have a woolly shop at theis time of year because no-one is looking for warm hats and cardigans. People want shorts and t-shirts and the likes, so I needed to rethink my summer stock.

No idea why, but in my notepad for brain dumping, I had a “Spring/Summer ‘ 18” list and it said “long trouser”, “pom pom hat”, “jumper to match feya pixie hat”…. I think I must have been freezing cold when I wrote that and as far away from summer thoughts as I could get! So instead, I’ve got two new items coming out which are a little more summer friendly, even if it’s winter in your country right now (Australia/New Zealand, I’m looking at you!) these will still be great.

First up we have the Carolina Headband

Carolina HeadbandAimed for the little girls of course, this little headband comes in sizes 0-3 months up to 2-5 years. It is knitted in a cashmere blend yarn which is lightweight and delicate.

It really reminded me of a flapper style headband from the 1920’s and so I named it Carolina in homage to the origin of the Charleston. According to Wikipedia, The Charleston is a dance named for the harbour city of Charleston, South Carolina. The rhythm was popularised in mainstream dance music in the United States by a 1923 tune called “The Charleston” by composer/pianist James P. Johnson which originated in the Broadway show Runnin’ Wild.

 
 
 
 
 

Rose wearing her Carolina HeadbandThe two ties at each end will fasten at the nape of the neck and the beautiful feather and fan pattern wraps across the top of the head and either over or behind the ears. Of course, the RowRow and Kades button is added to add my little logo!

Pictured in Silver and Lilac, these two are on their way to my new Spring/Summer reps. The Silver one has already arrived and just look at the gorgeous little Rose wearing it on her outing the other day!

The Carolina Headband is available from my Etsy shop now priced at £18 plus p&p.

Next we have the Westlake Summer Hat

Westlake Hat and BootiesThose of you who follow my pattern designs will know all about my Westlake beanie and booties. They are also available as a set from my Etsy shop but it has proved to be a very popular knitting pattern. It’s also quite a warm set and not something I am going to go into detail here today when we are talking about summer items…

So, I was thinking of boys sun hats. Boys are sometimes hard to think up patterns for. You have to be careful not to go too pretty, which is difficult when knitting can be utterly beautiful at times and not masculine at all.

The Westlake pattern is ideal for boys and girls though. It has just the right mix of feminine and masculine. I wanted to use it again for something else and settled on a summer hat. I’ve designed adult summer hats before but this one was a lot of fun.

Westlake Summer HatThe Westlake Summer hat is knitted in 100% cotton, so it’s not too warm and still does the job of keeping the sun off babies head.

It has a wide brim that comes down wider to shield the babies eyes and the Westlake (Little Boxes) pattern has just enough spaces to let the air flow through.

Why “Westlake”? Again we go to Wikipedia (my main research tool for pattern names!) The original stitch pattern name for Westlake is called “Little Boxes”. This always reminds me of the song, “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds.  When I researched the meaning of the song I found out this: Reynolds was a folk singer-songwriter and political activist in the 1960s and 1970s. Nancy Reynolds, her daughter, explained that her mother wrote the song after seeing the housing developments around Daly City, California, built in the post-war era by Henry Doelger, particularly the neighborhood of Westlake. And so, Westlake it became. Although my Westlakes are made out of beautiful yarn and not ticky tacky!

Westlake Summer hatLennon in his Westlake Summer Hat is available in sizes 0-3 months up to 2-5 years and a whole range of colours. This one is pictured in Apple and now with my new little Spring/Summer rep Lennon. I think he likes it!

There will be more summer items to come so keep checking back. I promise I’m not thinking up warm things right now!

So which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below!

Kelly x

Spring / Summer Rep 2018 Announced!

Spring / Summer Rep 2018 Announced!

Just a quick post today since I am super busy knitting things for my brand new reps! Hooray!
Some of you might have known already that I have been advertising for a couple of mini reps to help me promote my Spring / Summer ’18 range. I have been posting this little picture about to entice people!
Rep Search Advertisement Graphic

It happened to work and I got lots of people entering their super cute babies and toddlers to help me out!

In face, it worked a little too well as I was completely spoilt for choice when it came down to picking and I had to really nit pick to choose my final three. It’s not something I’m very good at, telling people that, although their baby is absolutely beautiful, I can’t use them this time around. I hate letting people down. But I put my business woman head on, roped in my partner, Terry (who can be pretty brutal when he wants to be) and narrowed them down to this lovely few.

Cute photo of Makayla, a baby from New Zealand

One of my first choices was Makayla. She is 5 months old and lives all the way in New Zealand. This scared me at first. I’ve shipped to NZ before and it takes almost a month from the UK. They must send things there in a rowing boat! But she is so cute and beautiful that I couldn’t resist. I’m working on a few things for her now since she will have the longest wait for them. I’m so excited to see her in the items! You can see more of Makayla on her mum’s instagram @Ophelia_kkkk

Cute photo of baby in the bath

Next up we have Lennon, a 4 month old from the UK. What a total sweetie he is! I have so many plans on things to make him that I don’t know where to start! I have to find the perfect colours to set off his big eyes and gorgeous smile! You can find him on his mums account @_jadebowden

Photo of toddler Rose on a bench

Finally we have Rose. Rose was entered with her twin brother Frazer. They are both so cute and I was gutted that I had no spot for Frazer to fill. I have a new design especially for someone like Rose though, so she needed to be on board. She is very beautiful and cute to boot. You can find her on instagram @little_Rose_buds_big_life or with her brother @Frazer_and_Rose

I am knitting day and night to get these guys some items to wear so keep checking back and hopefully you’ll see some new things very soon!

See you next week x

Feya Pixie Bonnet

Feya Pixie Bonnet

A few months ago, I decided that I no longer wanted to knit items for my shop that had been designed by someone else. I wanted the shop to be purely from my brain (and heart!) Not that there is anything wrong with the patterns from other people. It’s just that other shops can stock those items. Anyone can knit them up for you. I want RowRow and Kades to be a bit more special.
Since that decision, I’ve been working hard on new designs to fill some empty spots.

First there was Chunky Jo, the woolly winter bonnet with huge pom pom. Then I created the Tides Beanie. That lovely lace work spiralling up to the pom pom on top.

Chunky Jo Pom Pom Bonnet
Chunky Jo
Tides Beanie Hat
Tides Beanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I’m bringing you the Feya Pixie Bonnet.

Feya Pixie Bonnet

“Feya” means “Pixie” in Russian (if I am to believe google translate!) It is knitted in a very beautiful cashmere blended yarn and feels soft to the touch. It is a lightweight hat, ideal for a cool Spring/Summers Day, and is suitable for boys and girls alike.

Pixie Hat in cashmere yarn

I’ve been wanting to design a pixie hat for a while but just hadn’t gotten around to doing it, but I am so happy with this. The little diamond edging is just right to set it off from other pixie hats and I’ve already got plans to use it in other items in the future.

This bonnet has little i-cord ties (30 cms in length) to fasten the bonnet under your little ones chin and keep it in place. I actually ran a vote for this on my instagram stories, and although a few people voted for a button under the chin, the majority wanted me to work harder than that and knit ties!

Pink Pixie Hat and Flowers

I have knitted two so far, the gorgeous blue one, which was my prototype, and the pink one above. The blue is called Mallard and is such a stunning colour. I had used it in lots of photos in the run up to releasing the hat so I decided to make a really girly one to show the contrast. The Baby Pink did it so much justice and I can’t wait to see what other colours I get to knit this in.

If you are a knitter, the pattern is being written up and will be released as as possible along with all my others. I will be selling them on my Etsy page as soon as I can get them all down!

Pink Pixie Bonnet with Flowers

So what do you think of Feya? Do you like the pixie hat style or would you prefer this to be a simple bonnet or even a beanie? It’s all possible and all coming soon! Are you Russian and can you tell me if it’s a true translation?!
Feya is available from my Etsy shop in sizes newborn up to 2-5 years. It is £26 plus p&p.

Rowan wearing the Pixie Bonnet

Rowan posed in it for me and was very good! He’s getting to be such a great little model these days!

Talking of Rowan, just before I go, it was his 2nd birthday yesterday and he had such a lovely time! Where do the years go?

Until next time!

Kelly x

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