Monthly Archives: October 2007

Stitches East Part 2

After lunch on the Thursday I went to my first class of the event. Each class is 3 hours although there are also some double classes which are 6 hours long. There are 7 slots for classes (one on Thursday, and two each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) so a maximum of 21 hours of classes. I signed up for all 21 hours since it is a long way to travel and a great opportunity to take classes from so many different teachers.

My first class was Collar Obedience Training with Maureen Mason-Jamieson (she is in the pink below).

Collar Obedience TrainingCollar Obedience Training

We learnt about the different sections that make up a collar and the properties and functions of each section. In the class we knitted a shirt style collar for a round neck cardigan, but Maureen’s notes had a lot of information on how you could adapt this for other situations. The collars we knit did, sit, stand, and roll over on command as advertised!

Collar sampleCollar sample

Good fun and the instructions were well written and contained a lot of information. I haven’t really knitted collars much but really enjoyed this one. I think also it will be an interesting alternative for a neckline. I have a rather short neck so polo necks and high rolls don’t look good (and also prevent me turning my head around which is a little irritating – you may have noticed I am not into suffering for fashion 🙂 ), but I like the way this collar adds interest while also lying flat at the front.

Also on the right hand side of the sample you can see where we had a go at a double pick up. This is a technique where you pick up stitches on both sides of your edge, so enclosing the edge of the knitting – good for an edge where both sides will be seen. I will definitely be using this edging on cardigan bands in the future.

After the first workshop I went to a talk given by Kaffe Fassett.

Kaffe Fassett

Apologies that the photo is a little blury. Flash wasn’t allowed, and Kaffe moved a bit fast for my camera in that light.

This was the first time I had ever heard Kaffe talk, he is very engaging and an entertaining speaker. He talked about his new book Kaffe Knits Again, but also more generally about designing in various media and about his life as an artist and designer. He has an exhibition coming up in Bath that he mentioned but he didn’t say where, I think it was going to be some time in the new year so I will try and find out more information. He has a totally different approach to knitting to me, he isn’t really at all interested in the technical side (which I find fascinating), but it was really interesting to hear him talk and to see his slide show of his work and inspiration, a totally different perspective on knitting for me.

After the talk it was time to make a beeline for the opening of the market. The market opened for 3 hours on Thursday night just for people who were registered for classes. Then was open generally Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is the snaking queue of knitters waiting for the doors to open.

Market Queue

Every one was very well behaved and queued nicely, and there was no utilisation of sharp elbows, although there was a bit of a stampede to the Blue Moon Fiber Arts stand. Photos weren’t allowed inside the market but suffice it to say while it wasn’t as big as Ally Pally, there were certainly a nice lot of stands to visit selling a good variety of bits and pieces. More on the stash aquisition in a later part.

There was a KnitU meeting in the market later on that I had really hoped to go to, but was unfortunately too wiped out to manage. So I crawled off to bed at an appallingly early hour, so as to be prepared for the delights of Friday.

This message has also become rather epic, so I will save Friday for the next post, and go and sort out some more of my pictures. I am hoping to put them all in a flickr set when I get my act together, but it may take some time.

A learning experience

Now that the moment as passed I can tell you all about the project I was attempting for yesterday. One of my friends is getting married in November and her three bridesmaids organised her hen night (or day really) for yesterday. One of the bridesmaids (also a friend) mentioned some time ago that it would be rather fun if I could make a tea cosy in the shape of a wedding cake which could also double as a hat for the hen for the occasion (I should perhaps explain that the hen is a big tea drinker so this is perhaps less odd than it sounds). I thought the idea sounded entertaining and set to.

I managed to find some nice white yarn which reminded me sufficiently of royal icing (Sirdar Spree, 60% cotton, 40% acrylic, chunky weight). I did a nice big test swatch to see what the fabric it produced would be like. The ball band recommends 6.5mm needles, but I wanted a very firm fabric, I was thinking I would probably make an internal skeleton out of plastic canvas (so keeping it washable and still flexible) but still wanted the knitted fabric to be quite dense, so I went down to 4mm needles. Being mostly cotton, and also being quite loosely spun it is a very inelastic yarn and knitting it on such small needles was what had been hurting my left hand. The way I knit means that I push the knitting along with my left thumb, and dealing with such resistance from the fabric (even though I was using my KnitPicks needles – nice and slippery, but the pointiness means I also have a sore spot on my left index finger!) gave me a pain in the base of my left thumb. Thank you for all your comments and suggestions on this. I am very happy that now I have stopped knitting on this my hand is fine, and no other knitting causes any problems.

So anyway, armed with the tension measurement from my swatch, I measured my collection of teapots (I have 6, I thought this would be a representative sample 🙂 ) and I also measured my head, with a thought to it doubling as a hat for the festivities. A few calculations were made, and I cast on for the bottom tier. My plan was for a three-tier cake made all in one piece, large enough to fit over a teapot, so it wouldn’t have slits in the sides for handle and spout.

I made a nice reverse stocking stitch hem, and worked in stocking stitch for the first tier, again with a reverse stocking stitch roll before the flat section to go into the second tier. I fiddled around a bit to get a good stitch to make the delineation between the horizontal top of the first tier and the vertical side of the second tier, and in the end decided on a round of purl, then on the next round I picked up the purl bump from the front and worked it together with the next stitch on the needle through the back of the loop. This bent the fabric forward on itself and created a good 90 degree fold line. So I motored along up the second tier, and had done about 20 rounds when it became apparent that things weren’t working out.

White Teacosy
White Teacosy

The proportions were all wrong and it wasn’t looking like a wedding cake. The top tier was too narrow, the diameter was too small, but even apart from that I could see that it was going to be too tall for its width. The difficulty was that the bottom tier needed to be that tall to go over the shoulder of the teapot, but that meant that the upper tiers would also have to be tall to balance the lower one, and it all got out of proportion. To counteract this I could have made all the tiers much wider, which would have made an abnormally large teacosy, rather scuppering the option of it doubling as a hat. Also time was running out and so I reluctantly admitted defeat.

However, I have never been particularly good at letting go of something once I start thinking about it, and so today I sat back down and finished the tea cosy off.

White TeacosyWhite Teacosy

It may not look like a wedding cake but it is a perfectly functional teacosy so I shall keep it. It rather reminds me of a strange bit of architecture. It was certainly fun to experiment with even though it wasn’t a roaring success.

The hen day itself was great fun, we made chocolates at My Chocolate, and then went for tea and sandwiches. The others then went onto dinner and a club and I came home.


There will be a short intermission from your regularly scheduled programming on Stitches East while I knit like a maniac on a project for a friend’s event on Saturday (more of which later). Programming will be resumed when (if??) I finish.

Please send new left hand, mine hurts.

Panic, panic, panic.

Stitches East Part 1

I’m back and still rather jet-lagged. I had a fantastic time, learned loads and met lots of lovely people. My brain still feels rather full from all the new information and things to think about and process. Meeting so many knitters and seeing what they are working on and have made is incredibly inspiring too, I have come home with so many ideas, and things I want to try out. I will attempt to write about the whole thing in a vaguely coherent manner, but apologies if I don’t manage it 🙂

We flew into Baltimore airport on Monday afternoon to give ourselves enough time for a spot of sight-seeing and time to adjust to the new time zone before Stitches itself. We were so lucky that although it had been rather cloudy as we flew over the Atlantic it had mostly cleared by the time we came down the east coast of Canada and the US. I love the perspective you get when flying (this is marred only slightly by the fact that I get travel sick on almost every mode of travel I have tried – walking is ok 🙂 ). Flying is, to me, still rather a novelty and I love to look out the window at all the scenery. It really brought home to me the contrast between the UK (particularly the South-East of England where I live) and the bits of the US and Canada that we flew over. Everything is on a much large scale over there, and is so spread out. It was also fascinating to see the difference in colours. Here at home autumn is just starting, the leaves are yellowish, just starting to turn a pale brown. When we took off it was overcast and the area around Heathrow is largely shades of grey with all the roads and houses, with greenish yellows and yellowish browns of the trees. Canada in contrast seemed to be mostly rich dark brown, dark red and dark purple. It reminded me rather of the heather (the plant that is, not me 🙂 ) on the North York Moors at this time of year. As we got further south the land became progressively greener, but still with a wide variety of rich variations. You could make some great colourwork garments inspired by landscape colours.

When we first landed I got my first shock of the trip, it was so hot! I had been reading the weather forecast for a few days before we set off to see what kind of thing we needed to pack (thereby perpetuating the assumption that the British are obsessed by the weather 🙂 ), but I had been convinced I was reading it wrong. On Monday afternoon when we arrived it was 31 degrees C and humid, and stayed that way for the first couple of days. I was very glad I packed my shorts and sandals 🙂

On Tuesday and Wednesday we did the tourist thing in Washington, D.C. and saw some of the famous sights.

CapitolThe Mall WashingtonThe White House

If you are in the area I can really recommend the National Museum of Natural History (one of the Smithsonian museums, and free to go into). Then on Thursday to Sunday I went to Stiches while Paul continued with the touristing.

Registration for Stitches started at 8am on Thursday but I wasn’t up quite that early. I went to sign up shortly after 9am, and the queues were not too bad at that point although growing.

Registration Queue

At 10am there was the Opening Day Presentation, entitled A Yarn’s Life with Barry Klein, Fontelle Jones and Dana Hurt. This was a very interesting presentation on yarn from the perspectives of a manufacturer, yarn shop owner, and knitwear designer. I found the technicalilties of how they make the yarn particularly fascinating, Barry showed a slide-show including pictures of several of the machines used in creating his yarns (Trendsetter Yarns). It was great to see the huge cylinders with dye-soaked shaped sponges around them that they use to dye space-dyed yarn. I had always assumed that was roughly how it worked but it was great to see it in action. I would love to go to a factory one of these days and see it all in real life.

After the presentation there was a lunch which included a wall of yarn provided by the yarn companies which sponsor Stitches. The idea was that each of the skeins had been cut into approx. 3 foot lengths, so that each attendee could take a length of the yarns they liked and create their own Ultimate Stash Guide (we were given a little booklet which had details of the yarn, and selotape was available for people to stick their yarns next to the right description). It was a great idea but a bit of a scrum! The lunch was my first opportunity to really see how many knitters there were, and the answer is a lot! I had arrived for the opening presentation about half an hour early and sat near the front so I didn’t really see quite how full the room got.

Wall of YarnOpening Day Lunch

Thursday afternoon was my first workshop, but more of that later. This has turned into rather an epic post so I think now is a good moment to pause. Workshop reviews coming soon.

Stitches East

The homework is done, I have made the important decision of which knitting to take (the sock in progress, plus yarn for another two pairs on the off-chance that I should run out!), and I have nearly finished the packing. We are flying out to Baltimore for Stitches East tomorrow and I am ridiculously excited! Have a great week all, I know I will. All those going to Ally Pally, have a great time and stroke some yarn for me 🙂

Three Deep Waves Beaded Bracelet Pattern

This opulent beaded bracelet, based on garter stitch (knit every row), is quick and easy to work up, and an excellent introduction to knitting with beads. The beads added on every row give a three-dimensional quality to the piece, and the weight of the beads give the bracelet a great drape. The shape of the bracelet is created by varying the number of beads on each row. The beads themselves lie between the stitches so the number of knitted stitches remains constant on each row, eliminating the need for shaping within the knitted fabric.

Skills needed

  • Cast on
  • Cast off (bind off)
  • Knit
  • Place a bead between knit stitches (instructions included in pattern)


  • 1 x 10g (82m / 91 yds) ball Anchor Pearl Cotton No. 8 (also called Coton Perlé) in green (One 10g ball will make several bracelets)
  • 1740 (approx. 18g) x size 11 seed beads in green
  • Two 1.25mm (US Size 0000) knitting needles
  • 1 x 9mm (0.4 inch) press-stud (snap fastener)
  • Sewing needle and thread of a similar colour to your knitting cotton
  • Beading needle and length of sewing thread to aid threading of beads

Yarn substitutions

Any other crochet cotton of a similar thickness would be appropriate. A non-stretchy yarn works best for this design since otherwise the weight of the beads would distort the bracelet.

Finished size

The finished bracelet measures 17cm (6.75 inches) long, is 3.75cm (1.5 inches) wide at the widest point, and 2cm (0.75 inches) wide at the narrowest point.

Tension (gauge)

Approximately 7 stitches and 10 rows to 1cm in garter stitch (knit every row) using 1.25mm needles. The tension (gauge) for this pattern is not critical since plain knit rows can easily be added in. Add more rows immediately after the cast on before the pattern begins, and add a similar number of rows immediately before the cast off. If the bracelet is coming out too long, simply omit 2 rows (or 4 if it is going to be really long) from each section of the pattern.

This pattern is sold as an electronic file in PDF format. File size is 264 KB. The pattern has 5 pages. Once payment is received a link to a personalised website will be emailed to you for you to download your copy of the pattern. Please note this link will expire.

Price: £2.00 (This button will take you to a Ravelry page where you can buy the pattern, but you don’t need to be a Ravelry member for it to work)

Three Deep Waves Beaded Bracelet

Copyright Notice

All rights reserved. This pattern is for personal use only. This pattern, items made from this pattern or any portion of pattern or item may not be resold, or otherwise used for profit without express permission from the designer. This pattern may also not be distributed for free by any individual or shop without permission.

Bits and pieces

I can’t believe it is October already, the last few weeks seem to have just zipped by, and it has definitely grown colder and darker. Good knitting weather, but I find the darkness does make me feel more tired. The last couple of weeks have been full of little bits and pieces, so a few updates in no particular order:


I’m in! My username is HeatherMurray (I am so original!). After an initial flurry of activity I have stalled rather, but am looking forward to doing some more updating. It seems a great resource from what I have investigated so far. I particularly like being able to look at all the projects people have made from a particular yarn, and also seeing all the different yarns used for a particular pattern.

Stitch and Creative Crafts Show at Sandown Park

On Friday 21st September I went to the Stitch and Creative Crafts Show at Sandown Park, Esher. This isn’t as big as the Knit, Stitch and Creative Crafts Show that they hold at the same venue in January, and there isn’t as much knitting as you could probably guess from the title 🙂

Nevertheless it was an enjoyable morning, and I managed to find a few things to take home with me 🙂 (as usual click on the picture to view yarn in even greater glory)

Yarn from Sandown Park

The package is 20 balls of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4ply in purple (actually the photo only shows 10 of them), bought from Black Sheep. The red and white are DK weight acrylic from NKM Shows (no website as far as I am aware). They are for a christmas stocking for Ted (born a couple of months ago), the son of a friend. I knitted stockings for his two older sisters (pre-blog so I’m afraid no link) so he is getting one to match – except obviously it will have his name on it rather than either of theirs :-)I also met Tess and Les from Silkwood Angoras who were organising the knit and relax area, and had a nice chat to a couple of ladies who dropped by while I was volunteering.

Random other things

Does anyone know what has happened to BlueFaced, their website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.