Welcome to Erssie Knits

To see my new website, and find patterns to download and more go here to the Erssie Knits website
What's Going on in those online Mags....

I have failed to mention the Anticraft's latest issue, which is naughty! I am taken by surprise* as their Lughnasadh issue is up earlier than usual. First we have Tepes and Impaler, 2 winning designs for a competition to come up with a head garment for Vlad the Impaler, designed as a reaction to a scathing review of the Anticraft by Steven Wells, who couldn't appreciate the edginess of craft. I love the effect of the sharp impaler on the hat below, with the illusion of fresh dripping blood on his helmet...oooh errr!

Vlad the Impaler didn't crotchet his own ear-flapped bobble hats. And neither should you.
—Steven Wells


'Nuff Said!! Then my favourite design, simple but beautifully thought out shawl Wa na na na na na na na Bat Shawl!

And for sheer quirkiness, this Fuck Off I'm Reading book mark appeals to me
Lastly, this bag uses a very similar stitch effect to the ones I am working on at the moment. I decided to delve into my vintage archives and revive a few stitches that seem to have been buried and forgotten since the 1970's. I think in those days, yarn that we could afford was of such poor quality and in such dull shades that the only thing to do on socks and stuff was to come up with an interesting texture pattern. A lot of patterns as well, were for skirts and jackets and as the fashion was for tweedy fabrics knitting would imitate woven fabric for garments you didn't want to stretch and which needed a bit of extra thickness on the surface for warmth. So I am currently looking into tweedy and herringbone type stitches, and ones with an oblique effect.

That always happens to me. I do a bit of research, start designing something that perhaps no-one else is using, and then blow me if it doesn't suddenly crop up in a published pattern just before I was about to bring out something that might look a bit different!

Knitting on the Net

I just love this issue of Knit on the net and out of all the online magazines this is the first this year to impress me with its cohesive fashion story. Normally an online magazine will have a list of individual designs, all interesting in their own right, but perhaps not as a collection. These designs fit together beautifully. However, I say this with a designer's hat on, and I suspect that knitters themselves, just scan on line magazines and free patterns for those items they wish to knit up and wear, and the more they like, however disjointed the themes are, the more they will praise a magazine. Knit on the Net is subtle, and it is growing on me.

I particularly love this design on the left Tropicana by Just Call Me Ruby. The use of a lovely warm glowing sort of yellow (height of fashion of course) and its flattering shape to a curvy body!

Also, there were some interesting features including one about self publishing Going Indie by my online knitting mentor Woolly Wormhead. It is a great introduction to self publishing with ideas about starting out and writing up your knitting patterns, I would love to see a Part 2 written though, where she outlines a guide to self publishing a collection as a book! Are you going to do one Woolly when you've brought out your next book?
Don't give away all your secrets though!

I liked the feature by Henrietta Dups From Catwalk to Cast On, I would have loved to see a bibliography list or list of refs with regard to the Catwalk stuff, as a non fashion student myself like many knitters, I don't have a clue on how to get resources of latest fashion trends unless it is sent out to me by Vogue!

Knit on the net also includes interviews with designers or yarn producers ,as well as yarn and book reviews.
Do have a look at Gudrun Johnston's interview as it contains a lot of interesting edgy stuff with a traditional basis but the little image on the list of features, and the title of the article really doesn't invite you to open that option.

Really, there is such a lot going on out there. Who said that knitting was just for winter eh?

Textiles Design Courses...Places still available for this year

I have been contacted by one of the course tutors of the Textiles courses of Bradford School of Arts and Media.

They would like everyone to know, there are still places left for anyone wishing to further their knowledge of knitted techniques and knitted textiles design. This can be studied from a distance from anywhere in the country.

Students must attend an initial 10 day block, then followed by 4 weekends over the year.

Between the teaching weekends students receive detailed support and feedback via one to one tutorials, via email, telephone, post or face to face depending on their location. The course runs for two years part time, students gain a HNC Higher National Certificate and has it has ran very successfully for several years in woven textile design. They have only recently added the knitted textile strand and so a lot of people might not be aware of it may not be aware of the course.

Dates For Academic year 2008-2009

Level 1

The dates for the autumn school are Monday 29th September to Wednesday 8th October 2008 inclusive. (With the Sunday off)

The dates for the following 4 weekends for the academic year 2008-2009 are as follows:

12th,13th and 14th December 2008 20th,21st 22nd February 2009 8th, 9th and 10th May 2009, 17th, 18th and 19th July 2009.

Contact the admissions officer Helen Peacock on 01274 433239 for an application form and further detailed information

Access more information about the college itself on the Bradford College website

Loads of text and no piccies!
We Will have to remedy that

Here is a mini sock swatch, which I have called Rain for obvious reasons.
I noticed that I had put up a lot of text and not a lot to look at, so am now adding pictures when I should be off knitting. I keep procrastinating with my current projects, it must be cos I'm a wee bit poorly at the moment and feeling a sort of unsettled seasonal change coming on. I hope it isn't Autumn already, though I feel in my achy bones and tissues like Summer is about to erupt.

How to do a Test Knit or in fact,What is a Test Knit?

There have been quite a few discussions on Ravelry with regards to what is required for test knitting, and how designers work in different ways but need help at different stages. Also, those people who are from the test pool on Ravelry are not always as experienced as we assume, it is not their fault, it is up to us to clarify what we require. It can be difficult as well, making demands if the person is volunteering for us but in order to be truly useful, it pays to let the knitter know up front exactly what is required and getting them to agree to it before they commit.

Therefore I have put together an info sheet about test knitting, then for each pattern they get this along with a sheet of specific requirements and a rough working pattern. This is for people knitting a test knit at a distance, perhaps trying out one of the sizes of the pattern and keep the garments themselves, it does not cover knitting samples for photographic work which I do not call test knitting, and refer to their jobs as 'makers'.

Thought you might find it useful. So have a look below


Test Knitting

Test knitting can cover a variety of activities, so always check with your designer to clarify why they need a test knit and the duties expected of you. E.g. is it for a sample for photography? Is it the final check on a pattern, or is it the initial check on newly written rough pattern? Do they want you to knit all noting errors and then contact them at the very end of the knit, or do they wish to be told bit by bit as and when errors occur?

Erssie Knits uses 3 types of testers

A: A test knitter to try out a particular graded size and to test the pattern in its rough early stages. This is explained in more detail below. This can be done from a distance Worldwide.

B: A sample knitter to knit up a sample for photography and at the same time gives feedback on the pattern. If they spot errors they are expected to contact the designer immediately rather than guess and continue or if changes are needed they need to seek permission. This is done from the UK

C: A technical pattern checker. This is a person with expertise in pattern writing and reading and can check a pattern by eye for errors in the copy, instruction or maths and corrects it usually just before final publication.

Qualities I expect to find in A: Test Knitters

1. Ability to knit up to intermediate level with knowledge of most techniques without the use of a pattern or tutorial nor the need to contact the designer for too much help.

2. Ability to spot simple errors, fill in the gaps and to continue knitting without being tripped up. For example, the pattern might miss out a very simple instruction like K2, or it could have the wrong number K3 instead of K2, but a good tester would be able to spot it as a typo or maths error and realise it doesn't work and make their own adjustment without having to go back and forth to the designer with small queries. Work from the photo of a swatch or garment if necessary to solve problems

3. Ability to remain calm even if it means ripping out their knit and starting again because an unexpected error has thrown them out. Also they need a total acceptance that this is a rough pattern and that they are being employed for their expertise and experience in being able to spot errors. Most patterns will contain at least one error and as I said before, it may be small but frustrating. A love of puzzles is a must!

4. Willingness to not only knit the item, but to mark out errors in red on the original pattern (without obscuring any black text) and to fill out a small questionnaire at the back of the pattern.

5. Willingness to work professionally and to a deadline even though they have volunteered for the job. Many people who work as unpaid test workers get references to go on to get better paid work and the experience even leads a lot of testers to become designers themselves so treating it as a real job even though it is unpaid is to your advantage.

6. Total confidentiality is required and you may not post pictures or information on your blog or any other website page until you have been given permission to do so. You may not share the pattern with any other party either before or after publication.

If you feel you would like to take part these are the specific needs of this test knit are attached

Test Knit Form

Name of Design:



Skills Level of Pattern: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Stage of Written Pattern: Very Rough/Rough Working/Final

Size to be tested:

Sizes to be pattern checked::


Requirements of Test Knit

1. Use the attached pattern to knit the garment in the size instructed or size of your choice (let me know straight away which size you are going to do)

2. Whilst using the pattern, if there are any small errors or amendments you feel you would like to make to either the knitting instructions or the text, then do so in red next to the parts you wish to correct, do not obscure or delete any of the black/green/purple text on the original pattern although you may put a line through it to cross it out if you think it is wrong.

3. Do not contact me with each individual error until the very end of the pattern, then send everything back in one go.

4. Complete the short questionnaire at the back of the pattern and return at the end of a test knit. Once I have received your amended pattern and questionnaire I will close your test knit.

5.If you find you cannot continue because you are not able to spot the errors and amend them and yet an error has lead you to a standstill, then stop at that point, note errors and amendments up to that point and send back with questionnaire.

6. Finally, on your questionnaire if you wish you may put your name as you wish to be credited and your website/blog address* in certain instances I can publish the names and contacts of knitters that helped me to prepare the pattern for publication. Otherwise you have the right to remain anonymous and the information you provide is just as useful.

Specific instructions for this pattern:

E.g. any extra info, photos, requirements?

*Any information held by Erssie Knits will meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act (s) and we will not be using the information for marketing purposes nor will we pass the information to any other parties.

My House is Too Small!

I knew when I first started buying my knitting magazines that I would run out of room. Such a shame, as there is often some very useful information in there and I had been so methodical in keeping them in the right order like a good keeper of journals.

Anyway as our house is so small and the bookcase is groaning under the weight of
magazines like

Simply Knitting
Vogue Knitting
Vogue Knit Simple
Vogue knit 1

which I had been taking regularly for a couple of years and I am still collecting vintage patterns and guides and buying in the odd craft book. I have made a decision to keep ONE magazine only, and sell the rest on Ebay and to continue subscription to one magazine as well and Vogue Knitting is the winner. Putting a pic up of each of the others individually is going to be an admin task of mammoth proportions but essential I feel.

My other half is selling his bike mags too and we decided to make a guess at the postage costs, and we were staggered actually that an average magazine weighs in at around 350g!!

If anyone wants the magazines, or is looking for a particular issue, do email me before they go on ebay and I will sell you a copy for £2 including the postage to the UK.
A Song I love.....

I have to mention one of my fave tracks at the moment, Home Town Glory by Adele, it really moves me. such a young person with an old (wise) voice. I first heard this on the Skins drama (which I also loved). Had to mention it because it suddenly started on the radio as I was typing this.

Whilst in North Devon, I had another look at this little street off the main street running though Croyde, this lane is named after my family and it is my birthname. The Cloutman's had a dairy farm that bordered this lane. Apparently, clout is an old Cornishname for the clot on top of cream...hence clotted cream. I might just add a creamy sock to the new collection.....well maybe not, I will stick to the coast.


We had a wonderful time away at a cottage celebrating the other half's birthday. I was inspired by the break to come up with new sock designs for a booklet. There will be about 5 pairs of Adult socks, and a mini version of each sock for a baby, toddler or child.

This is Speke's Mouth (photo by Noel Jenkins, in copyright and covered by Creative Commons) a waterfall that appears on a sandy beach once the tide is out, it used not to have a mill, but ruins of buildings show that there was a sand store here. The beaches in this area at low tide show strips of rock interspersed with strips of sand, and so it inspired me to use the sand stitch ribbing with the first of the socks, a baby sock using a wavy cable and sand stitch for the cuff and heel. Yes, it is unlike me to leak future projects but this will be my very own booklet and the mini baby socks will not give away the main designs for the adult socks, they are more simple befitting the size and just use certain elements so are a bit of a teaser.

The greys loved their hols, and as well as having lots of countryside around the cottage to walk in the farmers were kind enough to give us our own field especially for letting the dogs loose. Here is one pic of them running, I have written up a more detailed account of their adventures on my Gorgeous Greyhounds blog.

My Life as a Maker

When I first started to design a few patterns for on line magazines, I used to make garments for other designers as well. However, I am not the fastest person in the world when it comes to making things. Ages ago I received a request to make a baby afghan and I had about 4 or 5 weeks to make it which is plenty of time.
However, as crochet is a bit hard on the wrist, I employed another maker to help me, and gave her half the materials. She disappeared on holiday to France, so I had no idea of her progress and was a little bit anxious about getting it done on time. Then she returned from her holiday and it was getting really close to the deadline, which was a Monday morning and she was ignoring all my telephone calls. It developed into my worst nightmare, a commitment over which I had no control and no sign of an FO!

Eventually on the Friday before the Monday deadline the maker posted a lot of individual granny squares through the front door, they were the wrong gauge, the wrong stitches, and actually the wrong squares as they were not even square. The best of her squares is above on the left, mine is on the right you can just about see she has used incorrect stitches and didn't know how to turn corners.
On top of that, knots had been made and then yarn cut really close to the knots, and of the huge number she was committed to do, she had done less than one quarter! Her work had ruined the yarn, as each square she had made was too tiny and had short ends.

I set about frogging the lot, but then had no option but to buy new yarn. She also refused to speak to me to explain what had happened although there was a note to say she had some other work in. This is fairly typical of a maker who enjoys making for a hobby but when they decide to do it professionally find they are not up to it or just do not prioritise.

Makers nearly always put the making at the bottom of their list of priorities and it is difficult to find a really good one. Thank goodness I have two really good ones at the moment.

Anyway, the baby afghan problem was solved by me sitting up day and night from Friday until Monday afternoon, and Steve biking over London to get replacement yarn and eventually me rushing over in a taxi to deliver in person to the publishers. They will never know the hours I spent on it and the fee, was all gone in replacement yarn costs and taxi fare. At least I didn't let the client down, and they obviously thought the project was worthy enough to put on the front of the book. So there it is, middle top photo on the cover, the Granny Square Baby Afghan looking all innocent and peaceful. It was not my design, but I put everything I had into making it and thought never again will I let myself get into that position again!