Welcome to Erssie Knits

To see my new website, and find patterns to download and more go here to the Erssie Knits website
New-ish blog

Ages ago, I talked about having a Goth or 'Goffik' range of Erssie designs, and just for fun Stevie came up with a little biker type version of my Erssie Knits logo. I asked him if he could make a banner for Skeinspotting (my blog) which he did, and then I didn't have the skills to add it myself. However, after pottering around today, I managed to update my blog and add some pics etc. So, I have gone back to my minimal black look.

Really I should have been doing a thousand and one things other than this, but that is the way the day goes!
Well, it was a bit difficult to concentrate with plumbers and roofers in. The poor dogs have had an upheaval with workmen in the way of getting to the garden and we have had a few tinkles on the floor. I put them into a doggie hotel today, so hopefully they have had some rest and don't think they have lost their home and gone back to racing!

Knitting wise, I have 13 pairs of socks I am designing at this very point, and switching between them takes a bit of multi tasking, it is hard to keep detail in mind and work on loads of other stuff and come back to something still remembering those details.

Knitters who need help desks

I heard a funny remark about one of my patterns, which was taken to an LYS where someone advised the knitter that it was very odd to have the gauge given in the same stitch pattern as the garment. This was for the POW scarf I designed for Handknit Heroes. The whole of the scarf was knitted in a K4, P2 pattern and was on 5.5mm needles, half a size bigger than normally used with that yarn because I wanted a light and airy feel to it even if it is fairly thick fabric. Well, I was told that I should have given the gauge in stocking stitch only and someone else mentioned that I should have used 5mm needles.

I disagree. I think if you have something like a sock, which has a stocking stitch section anyway, then perhaps it is reasonable to give the gauge of that but in my experience, matching the gauge of the stitch pattern cannot be easily done by matching the designer's gauge in stocking stitch. Some knitters purl more tightly than others, and we all vary when doing rib or lace....and if the final garment is in one stitch pattern, then I am going to take several gauge readings from that garment in that stitch pattern and give it to my knitters to help them match it. I cannot see why I should have to scrap that and put it in stocking stitch because their stocking stitch gauge might vary from their specific stitch pattern gauge anyway. I know a lot of commercial patterns do that, but they approach pattern sales as support to selling their yarns, and often will put a standard gauge that seems to be more about matching what is on their ball bands than referring to the specific pattern. Someone tell me if I am wrong, but I think it is more helpful to give gauge in the actual stitch pattern and even if that is my choice, I don't think I am odd or the only one who does this.

As to being told I should be using a certain needle size....that is nonsense and if I want superlative drape using an Aran or worsted yarn, then I am going to use the needle size that produces the fabric I want and not worry about what the yarn was 'supposed' to be used with. It is all about achieving the effect I want and I think people get too hung up on needle sizes. Some novice knitters, finding they cannot achieve a gauge on a pattern do get a bit panicky about changing their needle size to match, as if there is a strict rule about these technical matters and it doesn't help if people working on a yarnie help desks confuse them over these matters.
The way I see it, this is what is important:

1. Are you getting the right gauge with the needle you are using regardless of what the designer used? If so, then stick with what works and if your garment fits, that is the right result.

2. Do you like the fabric of your garment...i.e. is it too loose, or is it too tight? If so change it but if you like it then do keep that needle size and perhaps change the number of stitches in the pattern to accomodate it and keep the same drape to your knitting.

3. The last rule of knitting is that there are no rules.....you just do what you want to personally please yourself and try not to turn it into an academic exercise. Too many people read blogs and forums and force themselves to conform to what they think they should be doing, only to find that way does not work for them.
Happy Mother's Day

This is a vintage inspired design called Ann Marie Stockings that I came up with specifically for a feminine romantic look using Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multi in the Flamingo Stripe shade. I did this in association with Lorna's Laces because they donate 20% of profits from sale of this shade of yarn to women's cancer charities. This is why I incorporated an iconic pink bow into the design.

The stockings are named after my mother, who died aged 54 of ovarian cancer. My efforts are also a tribute to her mother, who died aged 42 of breast cancer and for all the many women in my family who have suffered from cancer related deaths or illnesses.

The key to improving this situation, is for all at risk to be regularly screened and I go for my 6mth check up next month as I am considered to be greatly at risk. I am older than my grandmother was when she died, and younger than my mother and unable because of my immune disorder to have anything removed without serious risk to my health so families like ours are dependent on your generosity to cancer charities that help set up screening programmes that we are part of. Hopefully by the time my niece is of an age to be at risk, they will have found a way to eridacate the disease or at least screening and prevention will be so much more sophisticated than it is now. It should be available to all women though as any of us could be at risk and hopefully new methods will make this possible.

It seemed apt that these stockings were ready to release today, just days away from Mother's Day and the pattern is free, a gift to all women (or men if they should wish to knit them for someone special). And I also hope, it will increase donations made to charity for research and screening.

Thanks to Jennifer Gwiazdowski who was our model but who also donated her own vintage lace skirt for photography. Also, thanks to Stevie Savage of Raid Zero for the free photography and editing and also to Abi Flynn who knitted these thigh high beauties, and who also was a technical editor for my pattern (both checking errors and copy but also keeping it in a tidy layout)

Of course, many thanks to Lorna's Laces who donated this yarn to us to be able to do the project.

You can download the pattern from here
Or here

Another Free Pattern

This is my new free pattern which replaces another old classic. Ages ago, I designed a squareish sort of beret in a super chunky yarn I had bought for no particular reason. So I wrote the pattern up and as it was a personal pattern I offered it free for others to use. I did know the yarn was soon to be discontinued and that Rowan Country was a really strange in between type gauge on 9mm needles.

I had assumed knitters would use this pattern with equivalent yarn and correct needles. However, many people chose the pattern first then looked for yarn and tried to make unsuitable yarns do the job. The result for many was disappointment as they could not achieve the size. Many thought they could adapt the pattern, add or take away stitches to make it work, but that just messed up the shape.

Anyway I mulled this over, and decided that I would redesign the beret, take out the square type construction and make it a round classic one, and reknit it on smaller needles that people would be able to find yarns for more easily.
So this is it. Called Another Country Beret and also free to download from here I love the jewel-like shades in this DB tweedy yarn. Many of these are also discontinued but there is still loads of it left on sale and in addition, there are new yarns coming out that knit on this range of needles which are a standard chunky size.