SUMMER of Socks 2015!

Where does the time fly to? I can't believe that it's the SUMMER of Socks again already! I'm nearly ready to cast on a new pair. I just have a mystery shawl pattern to complete first...

If you haven't taken part before, just dive in! It's really easy, all you need to do is to finish knitting a pair of socks designed by Rachel at some point between now and 31st August 2015. Post a photo of the finished socks in the thread on Ravelry: SUMMER of Socks 2015 and you will be entered for prizes! You can complete a WIP that's been on the needles for a while, or start a new pair, the choice is yours!

We are only a few weeks in to this year's knit along, and already there are some lovely finished pairs. How about these for some pattern inspiration?

Hautecontre (aka Diane) knitted this beautiful pair of Sapient Pearwood socks using some wool, cotton, nylon blend sock yarn - perfect for summer!  You can favourite any of the pairs of socks here by heading over to the relevant Ravelry project pages: Hautecontre's Sapient Pearwood socks.

For a more recent design, how about these lovely Woodcutter's Socks? Knitted here by Debbie135 using some Knitting Goddess sock yarn. Check out how quickly Debbie knitted these up! Debbie135's Woodcutter's Socks.

Deb (Tinkhickman on Ravelry) hasn't finished her socks yet, but her photo was so beautiful I couldn't resist sharing it here! She's working on Renesmee from Rachel's Twighlight-inspired eBook, When Vampires Knit Socks and she's using some Hazel Knits yarn in a gorgeous shade! We can't wait to see how they turn out! Tinkhickman's Renesmee Socks.

This is such a fantastic shade of blue from the Sunrise Fiber Co. that Writergirl3 (aka Gail) has chosen for her Ernestine Socks. Ernestine is one of the patterns from Rachel's latest book of fab sock designs, Coop Knits Socks volume 2. Gail knitted them two at a time, and again, she was SO speedy: Writergirl3's Ernestine Socks

These are Octarine, one of the patterns that Rachel designed for the When Granny Weatherwax Knits Socks Club, first published back in January 2012. This pair has been knitted by crossroadsdemon, and you can find out more over on her Ravelry project page here: Crossroadsdemon's Octarine Socks.

If you have some coordinating sock yarn leftovers, then how about copying cmflame (aka Charissa) and using them in a pattern like Bockleton (or Mixalot or Otis). Charissa has made this splendid pair using Cascade Yarns Heritage Sock for the main yarn, with leftovers for the colour work sections. Cmflame's Bockleton Socks.

One of my favourite thing about Rachel's sock knitalongs is seeing all the patterns knitted up in different yarns - I always choose some new favourites and mess around with my pattern queue after browsing that thread! I do hope that you have found some inspiration here. Let us know which design you will be casting on, then join us in the Summer of Socks thread to knit along.

Happy knitting!

Have you seen these?

You know what a lover of all things birds I am? Well my spotty parcel has just arrived with a pair of these beauties:

I want it to be bedtime right now, so that I can snuggle up in my new Boden birdy PJs

Boden Woven Pull-ons
Sizes 6-22
6 different fabric prints available
£29.00

'Where did you get your socks?'

It is wise to pick the recipients of your hand-knitted socks carefully, in my experience once they have one pair, they will never stop asking for another and another and another.

One of my sisters, Megan, was a very early enthusiastic recipient of socks I knitted. The rest of my family joined her over time, one by one they were converted to lovers of the hand knitted, but she really was the first and as a result she owns by far the most pairs. She probably has more pairs of (wearable, not samples) hand knitted socks in her possession than I do.   

My name is Megan and I’m the one who doesn’t knit (or sew or crochet or use colouring books). 

 

There are two questions which I get asked repeatedly in my life: 

 

                1. Is your hair naturally curly? 

                2. Where did you get your socks?

 

The first question is simple to answer (yes), however the question of my sock's origins undoubtedly leads to a long conversation. I normally open with a simple response of "my sister made them", this is never the end. After a short period of disbelief, I normally follow up with "she's a professional knitter", which sometimes helps, although that normally leads to questions about where she sells the socks. To the knitting-illiterate population (including me), "you can't buy the socks, just the patterns” is an odd concept. The discussion is not normally easily resolved without me resorting to the internet to display a webpage where you can buy knitting patterns.

 


So I go through my life answering questions about my socks, it is however a small price to pay for the privilege of wearing beautiful hand-knitted socks. I love the way they fit your feet in a way that normal socks never can, I love that each pair is individual, I adore the bright colours and matching my socks to my clothes, I love seeing my washing line in summer with a row of knitted socks. In fact the only disadvantage (apart from the long sock conversations), is reserving enough space in my suitcase for all the socks I want to pack. 

New patterns in Vivacious KIDS

Rachel has 4 new designs in the latest collection from British yarn company, Fyberspates: Vivacious KIDS. See below for a 25% discount on purchases of the eBook and single pattern downloads from Ravelry.

In fact, not only does she have patterns in the new collection, but also her two gorgeous boys can be found modelling the knits. You can see the mischievous fun they had on the photoshoot...

Rachel's patterns include socks (naturally!), hats and mittens, and are sized from ages 2 through 10. The collection supports the Fyberspates Vivacious yarn range, which comes in both 4ply and DK weights and is a 100% super wash merino yarn. It's a joy to knit with, and has a pleasing bouncy hand.

Jack-Be-Nimble is a striped hat in Vivacious 4ply - perfect if you have some leftovers from other CoopKnits projects...

Next up are the Margery Daw socks, with a pretty mirrored cable down the leg and foot. These socks have a short row heel and are sized for foot circumferences of 4-7in [10-18cm].

Knitted in Vivacious DK, Rachel's Lickety-Split Cabled Hat would make a perfect quick gift, and the sizes would work for both kids and adults. I can see myself making a few for various family members...

And to round up the accessories, there are these cute Tickety-Boo Mittens, which are also knitted in the DK weight yarn. They just need a ribbon to keep them in your winter coat!

If you like the look of these, and the gorgeous garments designed by Ella Austin, then help your self to a discount on purchases of any of the single patterns from the collection or the complete eBook, available through Ravelry. Simply add the patterns you desire to your cart on Ravelry, and then use the code CoopKnitsVivacious to receive a 25% discount on the price. Be sure to click on the "Use Coupon Code" button before heading to PayPal to complete your purchase. This promotion is only available until the end of the day on 26th June 2015 (British Summer Time).

All the details:
Vivacious KIDS is published in print and eBook formats. To purchase a print copy, head to your local Fyberspates retailer or ask in your local yarn shop. Print copies are RRP £10.50 or US $22.00.
The eBook is available through Ravelry for $16.00 or approx. £10.53
All of Rachel's accessory patterns are also available individually to download through Ravelry for $6.00 or approx. £3.95 (just click through the links above).
Ella Austin's garment patterns are also available individually to download through Ravelry for $7.50 or approx. £4.94.

A fortnight in pictures

It's been a busy few weeks for Rachel, with a visit to the USA's largest needlework trade show, TNNA, followed by an amazing time at the Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire (I'm SO jealous!!). Here's her trip, and what she's been up to since her return, in pictures...

Don't forget to enter the CoopKnits in Public competition over in Rachel's Ravelry group, where you can find the full details. The competition closes next Monday.

Squam - where the magic happens

Last week I went to Squam Art Workshops, I was on my back from TNNA (The National Needlearts Association trade show in Columbus - more about what I saw there later) and the timing of the Spring Squam retreat was too perfect not to take advantage of. Jeni and I hired a car and drove up to the lake from Boston.

Arriving at a place so beautiful and peaceful was like taking a long breath, stress and tension just left my body as soon as we arrived. The lake and the woods are full of life, we saw huge luna moths, tiny chipmunks, squirrels and even a skunk (it didn't see me though, luckily!). We saw fish and loons in the lake.

My cabin and classes were full of amazing women who were warm and friendly and welcoming. The food was delicious and the evenings were spent knitting by the fire.  

The classes were incredible, I would have been more than happy to be in any one of the many that were on offer. Jeni and I decided not to take any knitting classes (although the knitting classes on offer were perfect and teachers among the most inspiring people I know.) I took Drawn Together with Kerry Lemon (who is unbelievably talented) and Writing Your Own Myth with Elizabeth Duvivier.

Elizabeth created Squam Art Workshops and I have never met a person so insightful and warm, she has put together an experience which seems to adapt itself to each individual, offering just what that person wants or needs and allowing them to create their own unique experience while still being part of a community.

There is magic in those woods, my science loving brain is working hard to process that but it's still true, Squam IS where the magic happens.

If you ever get the opportunity to go there, grab it with both hands, I'll definitely be going back.

Knitting in Public Competition!

Hi Rachel!

Are you knitting in public tomorrow for World-Wide Knit in Public day (WWKIP)? I'm not going to a special event - everyday is a knit in public day for me! - but I will certainly be out and about with my knitting.

Wouldn't it be fun to see all of the cool places that people are knitting in public this week? I've started a thread in your group: CoopKnits in Public Anyone who posts a photo of a public knitting of a Rachel Coopey pattern in that thread will get an entry to win two pdf patterns of their choice from your Ravelry Store. I can't wait to see where people are out and about to! Head over to the thread on Ravelry if you'd like more information! And in the meantime, get knitting!

Now, please tell me all about Squam!

Jen xx

 

Have you seen these?

Hey Rachel!

I'm sure you must have seen these, but just in case...

Orla Bobbie shoes, designed by Oral Kiely for Clarks. £120. Click on image to go to Clarks website.

Orla Bobbie shoes, designed by Oral Kiely for Clarks. £120. Click on image to go to Clarks website.

Gorgeous shoes! Designed by Orla Kiely for Clarks - and not all high heels! This is my favourite pair, and it comes in patent coral pink, and pale blue as well as the navy above.

I wish I could wear either of these as well, but me and heels don't really go well together - it always ends in a sprain...

Enabling alert... You can click on the images to go straight to the Clarks website...

How fantastic would any of these look with hand-knitted socks? Hurrah for pretty shoes to showcase amazing socks!

Speak soon, Jen x

Why I love green, and particularly green socks!

Rachel, I think I might have a bit of a problem...

I noticed a while ago that I seem to always knit in the same colour yarns... Green, green-blue, forest green, grass green, teal-y green, but always some sort of variation on that theme!

Above is a rogues gallery of just some the green socks I've knitted in the past 5 years! If you click on an image it will take you to my Ravelry project page, where you will find all the yarn information as well as pattern links that you may need! Not that I'm enabling you in pattern or stash acquisition here... Ahem!

I'm not sure that I can adequately explain my attraction to this end of the spectrum, but I can promise that it's not going to stop any time soon... You only have to look at my stashed yarn to see that!

Happy knitting! x

Otis & Phyllis Knitalong - March & April 2015

Oh, how I love a Knitalong (KAL)! Casting on the same pattern as a group of other knitters, and sharing pictures and advice as you go. It gives a real sense of camaraderie! Over on the Ravelry thread, you'll see that knitters are sharing pictures of the yarns they are planning to use, as well as a few "in progress" photos already (some of these knitters are QUICK!).

So this is how it works...
You choose your yarn and cast on either Otis (left) or Phyllis (right), both of which are from Rachel's new book, CoopKnits Socks Volume 2. Then you need to head over to the CoopKnits Ravelry group (have you joined yet? You really should!) and share a picture to tell us what you're up to in the Otis & Phyllis KAL thread.

Once you've done that, you will already be entered for one of the spot prizes of a free Rachel Coopey sock pattern download (you will be able to select from the single sock patterns in Rachel's Ravelry Store)! Rachel will be giving away a few pattern prizes as we go through March and April. You simply need to cast on and post a picture to the the KAL thread! You don't even need to finish your socks to win a pattern prize (great for us slower knitters...)

Keep knitting, and do chat along with the other KAL-ers! And then, once you've finished your pair of socks, post another picture to the KAL thread. Then you will be entered for one of the wonderful yarn prizes...

These gorgeous skeins are up for grabs for knitters who finish their Otis or Phyllis socks before the end of April 2015. West Yorkshire Spinners, Three Irish Girls and The Knitting Goddess! What beauties!

Happy knitting!

Have you seen this?

Rachel... Rachel... Rachel... (in the style of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory...)

Have you seen this?

Click on the photo above to go to the Charley Harper Studio online shop, but don't blame me if bankruptcy results...!

Click on the photo above to go to the Charley Harper Studio online shop, but don't blame me if bankruptcy results...!

I think it might just tick every box for things we both like! Birds! Colouring in! Charley Harper! What more could you want? There are all sorts of his colouring-in books available, but I particularly like this one as it comes in a tin (gotta love a tin!), with cards, envelopes and crayons.

I know how much you enjoyed the Benedict Cumberbatch colouring-in book that I sent you, so I hope this makes you smile too. :)

Happy colouring!
Jen x

Leftovers

Here are all the little balls of leftover yarn from the single colour socks in Coop Knits Socks Vol 2. I'm going to try to use them all up, every last little bit and I'm formulating a plan to do this.

1. A pair of Mixalot socks. For my size each sock will use 14 colours (3 for cuff, heel and toe, 6 on the leg and 5 on the foot) and there are 14 colours, so thats serendipitous (I'm awarding myself bonus points for using my favourite word in context). The balls with larger amounts will be used for the cuffs/heels/toes because they use more yardage than the stripes.  

2. A pair of Otis socks. This will be one of the first patterns we kick off the official knit-a-long with. I need to decide on a main colour that will work with all these colours, I think maybe dark grey or possibly navy blue. 

3. I want to make a small crochet square with as many of the yarns as I can, it probably won't be possible with all of them. I'm going to try to make a square from the yarn of every pair of socks I make and eventually join them in to a huge blanket. 

4. Anything that is left after the first 3 projects will become a pair of stripy Dave socks, I'll keep making Daves until I run out of yarn, maybe there will be 2, possibly there will be 3, we'll have to wait and see!

Fast work knitters!

Hey Rachel!

Have you seen how quickly folks have been knitting up the patterns from your new book? I'm astounded by the speed with which these delights are appearing in the Ravelry thread for Coop Knits Socks Volume 2. If you haven't already, do pop by and have a look!

First up is this beautiful Delbert:

Delbert knitted by StatenIslandSusan - click the photo to see her Ravelry project page.

Delbert knitted by StatenIslandSusan - click the photo to see her Ravelry project page.

It was knitted by StatenIslandSusan using Spun Right Round Superwash Sock in this fab orangy-brown shade. I just love how the cables twizzle themselves down the leg!

The cabled socks are always really popular, aren't they? Here's a fabulous pair of Eulas from WhiskeyKnits. She's used some popping-pink Plucky Feet to make these, and weren't they finished quickly?! It took her just one week to make the pair.

WhiskeyKnits made these fabulous Eula socks - click through to see her Ravelry page.

WhiskeyKnits made these fabulous Eula socks - click through to see her Ravelry page.

WhiskeyKnits is planning to make all of the socks in Volume 2 from Plucky Feet - I can't wait to see how she gets on, if these are anything to go by!

Finally, I was completely inspired by the incredible pair of Otis socks:

KnittyWench's stunning Otis socks - click on the photo to see her Ravelry page.

KnittyWench's stunning Otis socks - click on the photo to see her Ravelry page.

They were knitted by KnittyWench, using a selection of YarnYard Toddy skeins. The colours are beautiful, and I know I've said it before, but I really AM going to do some colour work socks this year. I know that you have a pattern up your sleeve, and I have the yarn ready and waiting, so let's get to it!!

Happy knitting!
Jen x

If you haven't already bought your copy of CoopKnits Socks Volume 2, then I hope that these have inspired you to order, you can get a print copy from Rachel's website (£18.00 + P&P), or an eBook from Ravelry (£17.00).

SPRING SUMMER ’15 KNITWEAR ROUND UP: THE BIG SIX

Holly Coopey is Cosmopolitan UK Fashion Coordinator, she is also my little sister (I did drop her on her head once when she was a baby). I like to knit things for her head as you can see below.

hollycoopey

 As London Fashion Week comes to a close I asked her what Spring Summer 2015 knitwear trends we might see as the weather warms up:

I'm being super positive about this the weather this year. So when you think of your wardrobe for the warmer months, the thought of thick, chunky jumpers and socks, no matter how much we love them, is not the one. But have no fear, for the new knits are fine, lightweight, cool, and add a clever twist and update to the usual standard summer trends; florals, we’re looking at you. These six designer labels are the key players in the knitwear game this season...

PFW: Céline The no fuss, utilitarian vibe at Céline is a fash-pack favourite, and hey look! It’s a knitted dress.  Proving that fringing doesn’t always mean Cowboys & Indians at Glastonbury, the drop hem, slim and minimal cut oozes modernity. The boxy blouse layered over another fringed skirt takes this modernity up a notch – not something that is easily replicated, but easy to be inspired by. Think mixing your knits with silks and stiff cotton, or even leather separates.

PFW: Céline

The no fuss, utilitarian vibe at Céline is a fash-pack favourite, and hey look! It’s a knitted dress.  Proving that fringing doesn’t always mean Cowboys & Indians at Glastonbury, the drop hem, slim and minimal cut oozes modernity. The boxy blouse layered over another fringed skirt takes this modernity up a notch – not something that is easily replicated, but easy to be inspired by. Think mixing your knits with silks and stiff cotton, or even leather separates.

LFW: Giles One of London Fashion Week’s key players and general British fashion legend, Giles Deacon took inspiration from artist Walton Ford’s wildlife paintings for this quirky collection. The claws, the fuzzy snakes and the patchwork prints made this a real highlight of a show, especially with the huge sassy jumpers.  Proving that novelty knits aren’t just for Christmas, will you all start stitching on applique animal motifs asap please? Faux fur features only though!

LFW: Giles

One of London Fashion Week’s key players and general British fashion legend, Giles Deacon took inspiration from artist Walton Ford’s wildlife paintings for this quirky collection. The claws, the fuzzy snakes and the patchwork prints made this a real highlight of a show, especially with the huge sassy jumpers.  Proving that novelty knits aren’t just for Christmas, will you all start stitching on applique animal motifs asap please? Faux fur features only though!

PFW: Stella McCartney Leading the eco-luxury fashion frontier, Stella McCartney is more socially and environmentally responsible than the majority of designer houses – especially when it comes to wool. This collection is comfy cool thanks to easy breezy shapes and fabrics, and the ribbed sweater dresses seem oversized but ooze sex appeal by following the line of the body. A long sweeping shape might not seem summer appropriate, but think about it over the top of a swimsuit in the evening on holibobs, wth a mojito in your hand.

PFW: Stella McCartney

Leading the eco-luxury fashion frontier, Stella McCartney is more socially and environmentally responsible than the majority of designer houses – especially when it comes to wool. This collection is comfy cool thanks to easy breezy shapes and fabrics, and the ribbed sweater dresses seem oversized but ooze sex appeal by following the line of the body. A long sweeping shape might not seem summer appropriate, but think about it over the top of a swimsuit in the evening on holibobs, wth a mojito in your hand.

MFW: Miu Miu Quirky and kitsch, the Miu Miu collection is the epitome of Granny chic - Italian Grannies. A heady mix of plaids, leather, florals and frills, this is a texture party and a half. With heavy wool coats and panelled ribbed knit tops, you could almost say that Ms Prada added these wooly touches especially for British summer time.  

MFW: Miu Miu

Quirky and kitsch, the Miu Miu collection is the epitome of Granny chic - Italian Grannies. A heady mix of plaids, leather, florals and frills, this is a texture party and a half. With heavy wool coats and panelled ribbed knit tops, you could almost say that Ms Prada added these wooly touches especially for British summer time.  

MFW: Bottega Veneta With a colour palette of pale greys, pastels and a twist of monochrome, the Bottega collection was inspired by dance and the bodily form. The fine ballerina-esque wrap around tops and chunky cardi’s thrown over simple jersey seperates, along with the prim and proper belted cardigans over eveningwear scream classical elegance.

MFW: Bottega Veneta

With a colour palette of pale greys, pastels and a twist of monochrome, the Bottega collection was inspired by dance and the bodily form. The fine ballerina-esque wrap around tops and chunky cardi’s thrown over simple jersey seperates, along with the prim and proper belted cardigans over eveningwear scream classical elegance.

LFW: Joseph Joseph, which might not be a global megabrand, has a cult following and a seriously cool aesthetic of its own, despite the stores stocking other mainline designer labels. There was so much love for the loopy grungy knits in this beautiful ‘less is more’ collection, along with for the huge Arran jumper tie-waist dress - the ultimate Sunday outfit, just swap the flatform sandals and sport socks for Coopknits socks. With such a plethora of fabrics and textures, from denim to leather and organza, the knits could almost be forgotten – but the sheer attitude of the designs mean the statement knit is a key player in this collection.

LFW: Joseph

Joseph, which might not be a global megabrand, has a cult following and a seriously cool aesthetic of its own, despite the stores stocking other mainline designer labels. There was so much love for the loopy grungy knits in this beautiful ‘less is more’ collection, along with for the huge Arran jumper tie-waist dress - the ultimate Sunday outfit, just swap the flatform sandals and sport socks for Coopknits socks. With such a plethora of fabrics and textures, from denim to leather and organza, the knits could almost be forgotten – but the sheer attitude of the designs mean the statement knit is a key player in this collection.

So there you have it yarn lovers, will you be taking knit-spiration from any of these designers?

Raindrops on Roses - February Favourites

'I simply remember my favourite things and then I don't feel so baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad'

Here are a few of the things making me happy this month:

I've been reading these detective mysteries by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling) and I'm really enjoying them. I love a good mystery, I grew up on Agatha Christie and Dick Francis and I think these are Christie-esque with clever solutions and little red herrings thrown in.

The new issue of Pom Pom arrived on my doorstep and it's a beauty as always. There is a great article by Anna Maltz - who is one of my favourites every month and always. The cardigan on the cover is Tambourine by Julia Farwell-Clay and it is an elegant cardigan with a beautiful deployment of nupps. I also love Lus by Mer Stevens, the little details on the sleeves are perfect. All the patterns in this issue are beautiful and it also features the second illustrated story (or comic strip) by Katie Green (the first appearing in the last issue). I really love this addition to the magazine and I hope there are more to come in future issues.

I have an extra copy of Pom Pom so leave a comment on this post with one of your current favourite things to be entered in to the draw to win it! 

I'll be at the first show of 2015 (and one of my favourites) this weekend (20-22 February) - Unravel at Farnham Maltings.  I'll have copies of my new book and all my other books, I'll also have some lovely sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess. If you are visiting, come and say hello!

One of my all-time-favourite yarns Titus, made by the lovely folk at Baa Ram Ewe, has 3 new colours added to the already beauteous palette. A lovely heather purple, a versatile dark blue and a fantastic grey. I love a good grey and this is most definitely a good grey! I've been working on some new patterns using these yarns so you'll be seeing those soon!

Bjork's new album and the TV series Fortitude are intensifying my already intense desire to visit Iceland. (Fortitude is set in Svalbard but filmed in Iceland). I have a husband who is all but allergic to the cold weather so I suspect my adventure there may be alone.

I'll be back with more of my favourite things next month!

New Book: Coop Knits Socks Volume 2

You may well have seen me announce my new book somewhere else,  but if not here it is in all it's shiny new glory: 

There are 12 brand new patterns in this book and it includes tutorials for kitchener stitch, afterthought heels and a long tail cast on.

The patterns are all sized for both men and women and I roped in my husband to do some modelling so some of the patterns are shown on a man. Lots of the male knitters I have met are sock knitters and lots of people knit socks as gifts for men. 

The patterns all have both charts and written versions of those charts so whichever way you prefer to work, I've got you covered.

You can buy the print book here - every print book comes with a code which allows you to download the digital version for free.

If you would like just a digital version, that is available on Ravelry here.

I will be hosting Knit-a-longs in my Ravelry group for all the patterns in the book, the first one will start on 1st March, there will be prizes and support for anyone who is a bit unsure, come and join in!

Intentions 2015

Happy New Year!

 

I much prefer thinking of some things I intend to do in the coming year rather than making Resolutions. It's probably because I have, in the past, come up with great long lists of things and then failed miserably to actual do any of them. I have also tried to make much more reasonable lists of resolutions and still not achieved them. 

I'm probably fooling myself that changing the word will charge the outcome but I will give it a go anyway. My intentions are two-fold:

 

Number One: I intend to learn how to crochet. 

crochet

I have attempted this a few times but I've never been able to get the hang of it. One of the problems I've had is trying, as a left hander, to learn from a right hander. I need to find some left handed crochet resources.

I hope to crochet a blanket with my mini-skein collection and this beautiful shawl/wrap from the latest Pom Pom Quarterly:

Trienne by Rachel Atkinson from Pom Pom Quarterly - photo belongs to Juju Vail.

Trienne by Rachel Atkinson from Pom Pom Quarterly - photo belongs to Juju Vail.

Number Two: I intend to visit a different museum, art gallery or exhibition every month in 2015.

sketchbook

I do visit places already but what I want to do is go places and sketch, I got this concertina sketch book from Cass Art and I would like to fill it. This probably means I will be going alone (or with people who don't mind being left alone for a few hours). I've got a few places on my list; Modern Art Oxford for the William Morris & Andy Warhol exhibition, The Botanical Gardens in Birmingham and old favourites like the V & A and The Natural History museum. If anyone has any suggestions (now or throughout the year), please tweet them at me (@coopknits) 


What are your plans for 2015? 

New Patterns: The Knit Generation

Hi Rachel!

I got my mitts on a copy of The Knit Generation this week. What a lovely collection of patterns! And how cool to have your Tulloch hat and mittens on the cover, eh?! Felted Tweed is one of my all-time favourite yarns, and that gorgeous fair isle patterning is stunning. Nice work m'dear!

The collection is curated by one of my favourite knitting colleagues, Sarah Hatton, and she has brought together 8 designers for this pretty collection of accessories. Many of them are people that I know through Twitter and Ravelry, so I was already aware of their work, but Ivar Asplund and Sara Thornett were new to me. I do love to discover new-to-me designers!

Your Kimber hat will undoubtedly be the first design to find itself on my needles. I just can't get enough hat action at the moment! The cables and crown shaping are all eminently pleasing. And it uses a yarn that I've been meaning to revisit for some time - Rowan Pure Wool 4ply. Lovely stuff!

There are some great offerings from the other designers too. I am extremely drawn to Andi Satterlund's Yew cowl (left). The texture is amazing and since it's knitted in Big Wool, it would be a super-fast knit too. Hmmm. Rachel Atkinson's Acorn wrap (centre) is stunning too. What a lovely combination of lace and 3D texture from the bobbles. It makes me want to reach out and fondle it! Finally, I'm still considering a few last-minute gifts for my family, and Gemma Atkinson's Bud caplet/shoulder-warmer would be such a great quick-knit, that I'm sorely tempted.

What a great collection of patterns! Well done team Knit Generation!

Do you have a time-turner? It seems the only explanation for the incredible quality and quantity of patterns that you've designed this year!  I hope you get a little bit of time for pleasure knitting over Christmas.

Love, Jen xx

All images © Quail Publishing 2014

Have you seen?

Hi Rachel!

Just a flying visit today… But I went to see Paddington at the weekend, and it was AMAZING. Not only is a great film, but Mrs Brown wears the most fantastic selection of knitwear...

Mrs Brown's jumpers ©Paddington & Co Ltd

This yellow jumper made me think of you in particular… along with the lovely YELLOW HAT that Sally Hawkins wears later on.

And Mrs Brown's hats © Paddington & Co Ltd

This is obviously a terrible picture of said hat, so you'll just have to go and see the film to get a better look at it.

Have fun! And if we don't chat again, have a very lovely Christmas.

Jen xxx

Knitting for Presents part 2 - Hands and Necks

Hiya Rachel!

I hope things are going well with you. I feel that we are into the end game. The shortest day is nearly on us, and Christmas is just a few carols away. Fear not! I bring you glad tidings of knitting joy. There is still time to whip up a little something to show how much you care. I can't think of a better reason for knitting a gift. If the recipient is knit-worthy, they will understand the love that gets knitted into the stitches of a project. I've got a hat on my needles for the teacher of my youngest - a more knit-worthy recipient you could not wish to meet.

Tupelo cowls from Twist Collective Winter 2014 Image © Crissy Jarvis

I simply adore your latest pattern for Twist Collective! I spotted it when @KnitOTD tweeted it yesterday (have you followed them yet? They have amazing taste in patterns!) and it's been stuck in my head ever since. Luckily if you fancy it for a quick pre-Christmas knit, there's a short version as well as this stunning wrap-around one. Tupelo is knitted in Indigodragonfly Mergoat Sock - a merino cashmere nylon 4ply yarn, the like of which many of us have to hand. Ahem.

Carthorpe mittens from Coop Knits Toasty volume 1 Image © Coop Knits

Your cute little Carthorpe fingerless mittens would be a super-quick knit if you're desperate to whip up a gift and really short on time. Even I could manage a pair of these before the turkey leftovers are finished for another year, and my knitting time is currently extremely scarce! You can buy the single pattern through Ravelry for £3.50, or treat yourself to the whole Toasty eBook or print + eBook for £12.

I've had my eye on the Lerryn mittens from The Scrumptious Collection volume 3 for some time. The Fyberspates Scrumptious DK that they are knitted in is true to its name, and if you've not seen it in cables, then really take a look. I love how the cables look like fishes swimming up your sleeve. There are a few other lovely designs by you in that collection, aren't there? You can buy the eBook through Ravelry for £12 or a print copy (also £12) from your local Fyberspates retailer.

Last on my suggestions list is one of your early patterns - sadly too easily overlooked now that it's on the last page of your many patterns on Ravelry! But I shall happily highlight it here: The Rosaleen Shawl (there's also a Rosaleen Cowl if you fancy a quicker knit). I have just the yarn for this and it's all queued up and ready for me to cast on as a quick gift to myself, once I've finished all my chores. This is another DK pattern, which when you're more used to knitting with 4ply, really works up in a flash. The shape is perfect, and I've seen you wearing yours so often that I know it is the perfect shape for keeping your neck snug in this bitter weather we seem to be having of late.

I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family, and I look forward to catching up in the New Year.

Bye for now, Jen x

Vital statistics:
Tupelo from Twist Collective Winter 2014 $6 or approx £3.93
Carthorpe fingerless mittens from Coop Knits Toasty volume 1 eBook single pattern is £3.50 or the eBook costs £12 for 10 patterns
Lerryn Mittens from The Scrumptious Collection volume 3 eBook costs £12 for 13 patterns
Rosaleen Shawl from the Winter One eBook £3 for single pattern or £8 for the 7 pattern eBook