Monthly Archives: May 2009

Upcoming patchwork knitting workshop 22nd August 2009

Rosie Sykes, Heather Murray and Jill Brownjohn will be holding a 1-day Workshop in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, teaching the patchwork knitting techniques of Horst Schulz, on Saturday 22 August 2009. This will be the sixth year of similar workshops.

Times: Saturday 22 August 09.30 – 4.30

Cost: £35.00

The Workshop will be small so participants gain maximum practical benefit. Regret not suitable for non-knitters, but only simple knitting skills required. Beginners to the techniques and previous students have different schedules, but combine for some time together. The more experienced you are, the faster you will progress. There will be some ideas for combining these techniques with machine knitting.

Details from or

or telephone Jill to reserve a place – 01628 471397

Unusual Fair Isle

The homework for the April City and Guilds class was unusual and experimental Fair Isle. I am trying to be a bit more experimental with my samples but am not sure I am really succeeding. I find it quite hard not to have a little voice at the back of my head thinking about whether it would make a good garment or a practical something-or-other, whereas for these samples the whole point is to experiment and view the sample as art rather than as something necessarily useful.

The first two samples are corrugated Fair Isle. Here you pull the strands across the back of the work tighter than usual to create a raised surface. It is rather hard on the hands! This stitch is often used in tea cosy patterns. The first sample uses the same number of stitches in each colour.


And the second uses more stitches in the purple sections. The other yarn is actually a plastic sandwich bag I cut into a long strip. Not very pleasant to knit with! It feels very stiff and crunchy once knitted up too.


Next I had a go at fulling a bit of Fair Isle. The background yarn is wool while the foreground is cotton. Here is how it looked before.


And here after going through a nice hot wash. I like how the cotton stands out a bit from the fulled fabric as well as the stitches being still well-defined. I didn’t full this until the background stitches were completely obliterated, but it would be interesting to try that too some time.


Next I tried Meg Swansen’s Purl When You Can. This involved purling the stitch if the stitch you are working into is in the same colour, and knitting it if you are changing colour. It creates a fabric which doesn’t curl and can be used around the bottom of jumpers and sleeves to create a non-rolling edge without interrupting the pattern. The first sample I purled when I could in both the background and foreground colours.


For the second sample I only purled when I could in the background colour, and worked the foreground colour in knit. This is enough to stop it curling, and doesn’t disrupt the pattern as much.


Both of these seeemed to work well when there were strong diagonal lines in the pattern, but some more delicate details were rather lost.

For my last sample I worked a Fair Isle pattern using two different weights of yarn. The background is aran weight, and the foreground 4ply weight.


I’m not sure that this one was a great success. Fair Isle is actually very forgiving of different weights of yarn, and although the background does show through the foreground a bit, it is not nearly as obvious as I thought it would be.

Smocked knitting

The homework for the March City and Guilds class was on smocked knitting, something I had never tried before.

My first sample involved knitting a sample of k1, p1 rib, and then working the smocking afterwards.


The next two samples came from patterns in Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. With both of these the smocking is knitted in as you go along.

This first pattern is just called smocking.


The second is called variation smocking. Unfortunately I chose a yarn which doesn’t show the pattern terrible well again 🙁


These were fun to do but I’m not sure whether I would use them in future knitting projects. The variation smocking is more delicate, but the other two make really quite a firm and thick fabric which limits its uses. They might make good tea cosy fabric, since they would be very well insulating, and a bit of a change from other tea cosy patterns.

Double knitting and quilted knitting

I am back to doing samples of different techniques for my City and Guilds course. The homework for February’s class was on double knitting, where you are creating a double layer fabric.

This is plain double knitting, where you end up knitting a tube with stocking stitch on each side.


Next I had a go with knit and purl patterns, these both look the same on each side. Unfortunately my yarn choice was rather poor and the grey sample doesn’t really show up the pattern very well.


The blue is actually slightly better in real life, but being rather shiny cotton didn’t photograph very well.


Next I had a go at a combination of double knitting and garter stitch. This is another sample which looks the same from both sides. I think this would make great table mats. It is a very pleasing pattern to knit too.


Then the last sample of double knitting was using two colours. With this method one side is the inverse of the other colourwise. A wonderful effect, although hard to keep track of what you are doing! I really loved how this one came out, very stained glass looking.


And this is the other side. Not quite as good since it turned out that the multicoloured yarn was slightly thinner than the black so the black tended to show through a bit.


As well as the double knitting February’s homework also included two samples of quilted knitting. These patterns are both from Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. First is the single coloured quilted lattice.


Then the two coloured royal quilting.


I really enjoyed knitting both of these samples. Both have a different but definite rythmn about them which makes them very pleasant to knit once you get into the swing. I will have to have a think about how you could incorporate them into a garment.

More spinning

I’m afraid I have got a bit out of order with my organising my spinning. I actually made this yarn before I did the dyed yarn I talked about before. This is more natural brown Bluefaced Leicester. This time spun into my first 3 ply. I am definitely getting more even and a bit finer than before.


I am using this to knit the other half of my moebius scarf. The difficulty being that it is noticeably different to the 2ply I started the scarf with. Oh well, I will enjoy it anyway 🙂