Welcome to Erssie Knits
Got bored of my black blog, and white writing....and decided to go all White for Yuletide.
Hoping this makes it easier for people to read as well.
What have I been up to lately?
Mostly knitting samples for a shop.
Also collaborating on some new and exciting crochet designs, and delving deeper into the World of tapestry crochet....so watch out for some new designs, that are not knitting.
However, Stevie has found this fab alternative bring and buy Goth type fayre in the Dome, so cannot wait to get an invite to have a little table there and have been working on some new designs that fit into the theme.
I am always open as well, to someone else contributing their alternative stuff as long as they don't mind me taking some commission to cover cost of rail, stall or table.
Got a fab alternative piece of knitwear? Can you make it up to a high standard and fix a reasonable price? Then feel free to contact me.
And to the person that ordered 150 Christmas Cards from my Zazzle design with proceeds going to Greyhound rescue.....a big thanks!
Steve took some lovely pics of the studio, and I wrote about 700 words about my design process and other bits and pieces.
Even the hounds became featured....but Dizzy Rascal had an extra photo and was actually named in print....and Lily wasn't, so shhhh don't tell her. She would be most disgruntled after me making her wear woolly things and pose for photos for my patterns!
However, I made a slight variation by working into the back loops only, why I did this is explained in the FAQ below.
To help crochet people on Ravelry with their projects, there is a mini KAL on the Inside Crochet forum going on and I have put up an FAQ there which you can see below.
For anyone who also knits, I designed a knitted version of these too....which will be out in a KAL Media publication soon!
Also, for any extra pics of the mukluks and a close up of tapestry crochet swatches, go to my gallery for Inside Crochet issue 5, with pics (I will be adding more soon) including some explanation and a labelled diagram.
There is an erratum in the magazine, so the following rnds should read:
Rnd 29: *14 (17, 20) dc in A, miss 1 dc, 1 dc in A, rep from * to end of rnd
60 (72, 84) dc
Rnd 30: Idc in B in each dc 60 (72, 84) dc
End of 4th band
Q: Where can I get the slipper bottoms
Regarding sourcing the bottoms, they come from Fibertrends and can be ordered from them, or the retailers the readers have found in the UK are:
The dragon yarns website, can sometimes be difficult to access so you need really to be in Internet Explorer as Firefox is not one of the browsers their website supports
Q: Do I need to use any special tools for tapestry crochet?
A: No, you will be able to use your ordinary crochet hooks but expect to use at least a size smaller than normally used for that gauge of yarn. it is not related to Tunisian crochet or a Tunisan hook. Tapestry Crochet is the term given to crochet which has tight colour work. Sometimes certain types of colour work in crochet are also called Jacquard, colour work, or mosaic crochet.
Q: Tapestry Crochet….is that using special stitches of any kind? Do I need to learn a new skill if I can already crochet?
A: Tapestry crochet mainly uses the same stitches you are used to. Most people use a normal double crochet UK (single crochet US) stitch. Sometimes, you might be asked to work the stitch into the back of a loop, or the front of the loop. Working into the back of the loop does two things. Firstly, it makes your fabric have a lot more drape i.e. it is not so stiff and secondly, it can straighten up stitches that normally have quite a slant on them. Tapestry crochet will be tighter than you are used to working but it is the closeness of these stitches that gives you the beauty of the colourwork with crisp edges. Also, the yarn you are not using are carried underneath the crochet stitching and if you did not work tightly, you might be able to see the other colours poking through.
Q: When I worked with different colours in knitting and crochet before, I got into a terrible mess. There are a lot of shades used in these mukluks…is it going to get in a tangle?
A: No, probably not. When you do colourwork in knitting, you may have lots of bobbins dangling and need to carry and twist yarns at the back of the work. These mukluks were designed with ease of carrying yarns in mind. You will see that on any one row there is no more than two shades used. You will work with one strand of yarn….and the other strand you will hold against the top of the previous row and just crochet around it like it was part of the fabric and cover it up. You will find carrying the colours stiffens your fabric, neatens the stitches and also…no weaving in!
Q: Can I use colour work graphs just like my knitting for tapestry crochet?
A: Yes, you can use existing graphs or you can design your own. However, the stitches are not going to have the same proportion as knit stitches, they are likely as well to have a slant either to the right or the left . This is because stitches are not directly above each other, they are worked and have a bias slightly to the side. Some of this can be straightened out a little by working into the back loops only.
Q: I have never tried tapestry crochet before, can I use it to make these mukluks/slipper socks for the first time?
I don’t see why not. However, I would get some oddments of yarns and a hook and practise on some flat swatches working from side to side, or swatches in the round before launching into the main project, just to see if the technique is for you. Apart from swatching, these slipper socks were my first large project using the technique and I found I could easily step into it from other types of crochet.
Q: I can see from this mukluk pattern, that you’ve got some slipper bottoms to sew on…what are those?
A: They are sole shaped pieces of suede, that also have a lip around the edge. Your foot should fit inside this with your mukluk on, and the lip should just be about 1/2 inch/1cm up the sides/edges of your foot. They should look like this
You can order these from Fibertrends or ask Get Knitted (their UK reps) if they can get hold of them for you. Some people have got them from a lady called The Button Lady that look like this
Leather soles can be bought from Twist Fibre Craft Studio UK
These soles below, are the wrong kind of soles, and the ones that most sheepskin workshops kept making for me. These are inner soles, not outer ones. You could use inner soles of sheepskin in addition to outer soles, but it is the outer sole that will give you the moccasin look.
Others have made their own. Either from cutting suede shapes or cutting felt shapes. If you want to do this, you would need to do this
- Draw around the sole of your shoe, or your foot, in an oval shape with straight sides (pill shaped) onto a piece of leather, suede or felt
- Next, add on 1/4 -1/8 inch seam. Then cut a long strip of suede,leather or felt at least 1 inch wide with another 1/4 -1/8 inch added on for the seam.
- Pin your long strip of suede all the way round the edge of the sole piece, with edges meeting at centre back of heel
- Next, machine sew this seam all the way around the outer edge as pinned.
- Trim inner edges of seam if necessary
- Using a bradawl, or similar tool, punch holes at regular intervals around the top edge of your slipper bottom.
- Using either a moccasin cross stitch, or a single whip stitch, sew the slipper bottom to the bottom of your slipper passing thread through the punched holes.
I have also heard that Dragon Yarns have something, but can’t recommend that until I have seen it and their website has been down for a couple of days.
Q: What if I can’t get suede soles?
You could equally use sheepskin, as the ‘suede’ side of that is non slip. You could also try using some of the more solid outdoor shoe bottoms people sell.
You can also use a couple of pieces on the bottom, although your Mukluks would look more like socks at least this makes them non slip. The two piece bottoms look like this
You can also buy a special type of non-slip paint/gel that you can blob onto the bottom of your socks/slippers that give a sticky grippy quality to them. You can paint designs like this
Q: I have hand problems/arm disabilities and I am worried about having to use a smaller hook on tighter fabric do you think it is best for me not to try this?
A:No, do give it a go. Even if you work with tiny hooks if you choose a padded wide handled hook e.g. Clover Soft Touch, the handle size does not change even when the hook sizes are tiny. Although the fabric will be firm, if you choose soft yarn like Rowan Felted Tweed rather than a crochet cotton, you will find it is fairly soft to work with. Working into the back loops only is much easier too. Here are some tips
Tips for Working Tapestry Crochet with a hand disability
- Make sure you use a hook that has a wide or padded handle on it so you can grip easily
- If you can’t find a wide padded handled hook, then make your own by getting your OT to give you some tubular foam or gripping handle, or make a handle out of Fimo and bake in the oven
- If your wrists are stiff, or fixed and you cannot flick your wrists to pick up yarn onto your hook, then keep the wrist stable and use the other hand to throw the yarn over the hook much like knitting.
- Take regular breaks, and try to keep your movements wide and fluid and not small angular and repetitive
- Choose a yarn which is light and soft rather than a heavy or rough cotton yarn.
- Alternate between crocheting, and another craft with a different hand movement
- Don’t work through pain, stop and re-adjust so the pain stops or stop altogether and rest. Listen to your body, if you feel pain it is not a good sign.
- Always try a technique out on a small swatch, and see if there are problems before launching into a main project and disappointing yourself that you don’t enjoy it because it is awkward or painful.
- You can have a go at working with arm/hand splints on. It is easier to tapestry crochet with splints on that it is to knit
I quite enjoyed the film Twilight when it came out, after having read the Twilight books. The first film did portray the intense teenage passions and yearnings of Bella and Edward with the sort of restraint that normally (of our generation) that age keeps on our actions. The film Twilight was directed by a female director and I thought she had captured that intensity that ran through the book quite well.
However, with this second film(by a male director), after seeing action packed trailers with special effects I was quite geared up to see a very different film with really good effects and action packed...after all there is motorcycle riding, cliff diving, and werewolf packs and fighting as well as the Volturi. I was disappointed in New Moon. We went to the Odeon on Muswell Hill, a great retro style cinema that had sofas! We hired one sofa between 2 of us....and had loads of room to lounge around and then the film started off quite well.
I was anticipating the werewolves bit, so getting quite excited...but after about an hour of constant mumbling, in which I could hear not a lot of dialogue (I mean mumbling between the characters not just mumbling in the cinema!) the werewolf thing happened, but didn't really show much phasing as such, they just appeared really quickly And disappointingly, the best bits had indeed all been in the trailers. I think compared with the books, the plot seemed choppy and seemed more of a filler between Twilight and tne sequel to New Moon. A lot of the plot I only got because I had read the books, and I wondered if this was a film for fans of the books, or a film aimed at a general audience with no knowledge of the books.
However, there was a ripple of effect through the audience when Jake (Taylor Lautner) took his shirt off for the first time....from that point on though, the effect is rather diluted by him always running around with no shirt and shorts on. And he just got bigger and bulkier til he looked like an advert for steroids.
Can anybody recommend a good current film or past film on DVD? I keep borrowing DVDs lately and watching films that I know of mainly from having read the book, and then being totally disappointed with the film. This includes Incendiary, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Day The Earth Stood Still (remake) and many more.
Alice P Beanie Free Pattern on Ravelry
Has been downloaded 426 times
This is totally refreshing because the main objectives change slightly. For publishing, you are always trying to rack your brains for something that is unique and edgy, that fits a brief or story and is tempting for the publisher. Sometimes the emphasis on winning a chance to submit does not fall on the end user, the knitter of your pattern. Sometimes it is the magazines that want interesting edgy patterns, and yet when you sell indie published patterns you might be surprised to find that the simple intermediate patterns do better than the 'clever' ones.
Another design popular with Mums but I didn't
write up a pattern thinking it was too simple and not edgy enough
- When you are thinking of making ready to wear these are the main objectivesWhat will suit the season and sell
- What knits are effective but use less yarn
- How can you use leftovers from one project, to make a complimentary project in the collection
- How can you design knits that are slightly edgy and unque but above all quick to knit (e.g. chunky hat with a few colourwork motifs, instead of fingering sock weight and a full pair of socks with overall multi colourwork) How can you make really simple patterns that are easy for your knitters to use.
- Can you specifically design knits that are interesting but use up lots of fragments of skeins e.g. stripy bright beanies.
Very simple but much appreciated in Cashmere and merino antique Pink for a girl, and faded blue for a boy.
Another pattern never written up as it is seen as too simple
However, it is clear that there are people who do need a pattern however simple and they do want to make this to wear. It seems that designer who make indie patterns to sell on their website or Ravelry, often try to be edgy and unique to attract buyers, but perhaps we should be stopping and thinking.....what is it that mothers will want to make for their kids? What will their kids wear?and Is it quick and easy to make?
In these cases, I think that the objectives of Ready to Wear and making for a Published Pattern actually collide. So, there are one or two patterns I have put together for the Ready to Wear collection, that I can see selling perhaps as individual patterns. Or, perhaps there is also an expectation that an easy non edgy pattern should be free?
''I got a letter from our publisher saying that they have found themselves in an "overstock situation" with Anticraft: Knitting, Stitching, and Beading for the Slightly Sinister ............. ..............So, the bad news is that it will not be reprinted, but the GOOD NEWS is that I was able to buy 150 deeply discounted copies, which I will in turn sell to you, signed and personalized.'' ..............We ordered the books Friday morning, and they will reach HQ in 10 business days. Which means that you can preorder a personalized book right now and have your holiday shopping done and out of the way in a trice, and we'll ship it out as soon as we have them in our hot little hands. Aren't we so helpful? You now how your own book order button under the book tab. The price is $16.76 (~£10), including shipping. Enjoy!''
So, this is your last chance really to buy this book...as they are not going to run a reprint. Otherwise, if you don't buy, I will be selling single patterns from this book but at a price of around $7 per knitting pattern. Which means $21 for the three, so buying the book now could get you a bargain of all patterns included for a price of $16.76.
I am hoping another Brit mag will rear its head but perhaps not in this climate.
This pattern though, did have a good run in the mag for 18 mths and many people have made their own versions, you can see lots of them on Ravelry
Anyway, I had this one pattern you can see here, in the magazine,
Ondine: Sleeves For a Mermaid.
I am looking into releasing this pattern as a single self published pattern, so it should be available from my own pattern shop very soon.
I also saw that Knotions magazine, which is about the same age as the Inside Loop is also going to be closing. I think the problem is, really to do with trying to attract quality patterns and pay the fees that designers expect.
From a designers point of view, we have a lot of choice of where to submit and we don't really need nor can we afford to do stuff for free. I still like to do pro bono type work, and choose stuff on artistic merit, but after about 6 or more years of doing this, I am getting to the stage where I want to be paid for my time. I get offered far more work than I can actually take on, so I really don't need to do stuff for free in order to get the experience behind me. Also, so many designers are working on their own private collections and have outlets to self publish patterns. It is difficult, because I would have liked to support online mags that try so hard to offer designers fees, but that does not necessarily mean they would have wanted to choose my designs.
It seems that Knitty is surviving well, and seems to keep on going whatever the financial climate. It still has the same kudos that it always did, but I do wonder if people get quite so excited about a new issue going live now that there are places like Ravelry to satisfy our knitted pics hungry eyes. I can still remember when surfing used to throw up nothing to look at, and coming across Knitty was like finding heaven. Then, after joining an S n B, everyone knew the day it went live everyone would be rushing to be the first to make some of its garments.
Are we getting spoilt I wonder? And also, are there just too many easy sources for free patterns in other places in order for advertisers to feel confident about going in certain magazines and being guaranteed hits?
In a time of recession, who are the winners and who are the losers? I can't quite work out how this has affected me, if you take out the fact the other half is redundant, I am actually not doing too badly for work but although I am busy, I could not live on the proceeds...not with an endowment mortgage. I feel fatigued at the thought that despite paying for 16 years, my regular payments have cleared the interest onnly and there is still going to be the capital sum plus a bit more to pay when the term ends!
For quite a few months, I have been panicking slightly about the low contribution my knitting work brings into the household. I do design for fun, and I do like to choose projects on merit and not worry about the finance. However, I kept questioning myself as to whether I should care about the money, or whether I should at least stop breaking even by spending any fees on new materials.
A little voice kept telling me, that my partner's job that supports us both might not continue forever.
The partner has not been well this week, he tried to go to work on Monday but felt too ill when he got there so decided to come home sick at lunch time. Just before he left, he was called into his department head's office and dropped a bombshell. His work is going to be outsourced, making his post redundant. He might get a chance to be redeployed in the new structure, but will have to apply for it with everyone else and also it would mean a downgraded position etc
Well, this is a blow. He had noticed, that he has not had a positive attitude towards his age of late. he is nearly 50 and if he applies for a job that he could definitely do, he does not get asked to go to interviews. For some time now, in this post, he has not been included in meetings and been part of decisions that directly affect his post. Neither had he had any positive career development or been allowed to go on any training courses. And, he was buying his own books....yes, books for work to help him develop his skills! if he gets redeployed then if he is put in a lower post, it isn't actually going to be a positive move for his career development. That is if he gets offered the post, as there will be lots of people applying for positions.
I didn't think it was a very nice thing to do when someone is going off sick, to give them news like that and for them to have to worry and brood over it whilst on sick leave. In fact, he went back to work today just because he needed to catch up on information to do with this situation, and really he was not well enough to do so.
I feel really bad for him, life has not been treating us well lately. We've both had illnesses in the family plus my own illness, and I fell impotent to help him on the cash front. Losing his wage would be a terrible blow to both of us.
However, he is going to try to pick himself up, when his flu symptoms have gone, dust himself off and try to use this situation as a positive step towards improving his career position.
In the meantime, I suppose I had better get my skates on and just produce patterns, patterns, patterns and just try to improve the financial situation. I hope this does not mean I have to compromise, and stop doing certain projects that could be of artistic value to pursue ones that bring revenue.
And, if anyone knows of a post for a senior web developer/programmer at any company, or perhaps ideally in the South West of the UK...possibly for an academic instution...then let us know so he can apply!
I want to make some hats, mittens and possibly sweaters in a worsted/aran yarn like Brown Sheep
So am just trying to find out what is in stock in the UK, and if not, what can I use as a substitute.
These are the sorts of shades. I love the coffee and natural shades, but also like the bright greens and blues. The squiggles are what is not in stock, or very low at Get Knitted.
I always get stuck trying to find substitutes of these in the UK, and want to buy British.
I am working on heels at the moment. Sometimes I want wraps to show as a decorative thing, and other times like now I want the wraps totally hidden from sight as the gauge is quite large. Here is what I am going to do. You can go to the ErssieKnits YouTube channel and see several videos for this, including Cat Bhordi's narrated example.
1, Making wraps
On RS of St St
K to stitch to be wrapped and bring yarn fwd
Slip next st K-wise (to change the mount*) Take yarn back bet needles again
Now slip the previously slipped stitch, back onto LH needle tip to tip without changing the mount*.
2. Making wraps
On WS of St St
P to stitch to be wrapped and bring yarn fwd bet needles
Slip next st P-wise (without changing the mount*) Take yarn back bet needles again
Now slip the previously slipped stitch, back onto LH needle tip to tip without changing the mount.
Cont working back and forth and on a heel, you are looking to wrap about one third of stitches each side, with the majority or biggest third in the middle.
E.g. my heel had 25 sts, I wrapped 8 on each side with 9 in the middle left unwrapped.
3. Picking up wraps
On RS of St St
On the RS of stocking stitch K to the first wrapped st
Pick up wrap from underneath at the front, and slip wrap up and over the st on the needle and sit it behind the stitch.
Your wrap is now behind the stitch it previously wrapped
K st and wrap tog tbl, this hides wrap on WS
Wrap the next st as above in 1. This means each stitch will be wrapped twice from now on.
3. Picking up wraps
On WS of St St
On the WS of stocking stitch P to the first wrapped st
Pick up wrap from underneath AT THE FRONT OF WORK, and slip wrap up and over the st on the needle to sit behind it.
Your wrap is now behind the stitch it previously wrapped
P st and wrap tog as normal, this hides wrap on WS
Wrap the next st as above in 2. This means each stitch will be wrapped twice
Turn work Cont working back and forth, picking up wraps from one st each side (remember to do exactly the same with your 2 wraps, as you did for one. i.e. pick them both up and over the stitch before working the wraps tog with the st)
When all sts have been picked up it will then be time to continue working across the front of the foot and back into rounds.
*Mount This means how the stitch 'mounts' the needle i.e. how the loop of a stitch sits on it. A stitch has two 'legs' coming down each side of the needle. A stitch can sit with its right leg in front and its left leg behind the needle like this. This would be how you are used to seeing your stitch on the RS of stocking stitch (stockinette) and you would be knitting ordinarily through the front loop.
Please do not link to or use this diagram
without permission from the copyright owner.
If you were to slip the stitch above, knit-wise, the stitch would then end up like this stitch below which you can see just begs to be knitted through the back loop.
Please do not link to or use this diagram without
permission from the copyright owner.
Here is a little tip which helps me avoid a 'gap' that most people get between their short row heel and their front of foot. I leave out the very last purl stitch wrapped.
When there is 1 wrapped stitch left each side, (i.e. the last 2 stitches to be picked up), I pick up the one on the RS/St st side as normal...but then I continue to work across front of foot and round the other side, and pick up the 'Purl' (now a K st on the RS) from the RS on the other side. Leaving out that very last purled row, means there is less of a step and less of a gap. Don't worry though, you can always on a Fair Isle piece just use one of the ends you are weaving in to close the gaps when you finish.
This little explanation will be repeated when the pattern for this project is published. However it might help people in general to read this and at the same time go to the YouTube channel to find vids on wrapping in my Playlists in the Knitting: Wonderful World of Wrapping section.
I collect tutorial videos, and put them into useful playlists so they can be found more easily so if you subscribe to the channel and bookmark it, it can be more useful than trying to search for individual videos. I have tried to make sure, that although my videos are from various sources that they do not conflict with each other.
However I am not that picky and enjoy almost anything.Here are some of my least favourite books
I am not a critic, it does not mean these are badly written only that I personally did not enjoy them.