Big Circles Jumper

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

3 March 2014

I like a challenge, and I love gorgeous knitwear, and by the time April last year came around I was ready for both. I had recovered from the epic task of knitting more or less everything I could think of for my wedding the month before (ties, socks, bow ties, pocket squares, cake decorations...), and I decided it was time to knit something for myself. This coincided with the May 2013 issue of Knitting, and I fell in love with Amanda Jones' Big Circles Jumper.

Big Circles Jumper

The yarn was King Cole Bamboo Cotton DK, which is lovely soft and very good value and I opted for shade 538 Cream, which I thought would go with everything, and be perfect for the summer. Little did I know it would take me until the next spring to finish it!

I'd never knitted lace before, but was keen to try it, and I thought this pattern seemed fairly simple, as there was both the chart and the written instructions. It was simple, but I did have to concentrate to make sure I got all the yo's and k2togs etc in the right place. I like to multitask, and I think I'm better at this than I am, so spent many an hour knittng and watching DVDs/chatting with my husband at the same time... which resulted in many a misplaced stitch!

This, in turn, resulted in many ripping backs (and some that I didn't notice until I'd progressed a few cms and I couldn't bare to rip back, and hoped no one would notice - in hindsight I think I would rip back regardless). Each time I knew I had to rip back I would leave it for a few weeks, and when asked by Stuart (my husband), I promtly told him, "I'm not speaking to it at the moment," as if it were the jumper's fault! One of these occasions actually saw me put the project aside for several months (which is why it has taken me a shameful 11 months to finish!), but also this coincided with autumn and winter, when I knew I wouldn't get any wear out of the thing.

But, as we had a couple of warm February days recently I decided it was time to face my knitting demons and complete the jumper. I had actually completed the Front, Back and half a Sleeve by this point, so that's not too bad! I settled myself down to concentrate and finish it off in a flurry of clacking needles.

I realised that reading the written instructions for each row was seriously slowing me down, so I took the plunge and devoted some time to figuring out the charts for the lace. It actually only took me about ten minutes of sitting and frowning at the page to figure out how to read it and knit it, and once I'd done a few of the chart rows I was flying away at breakneck speed (or thereabouts). Dear reader, let me encourage you: learn to read charts! I thought I couldn't 'do' charts, when actually I could if I just concentrated for ten minutes. I hate maths and numbers generally, so thought that charts 'weren't for me', but once I figured it out (it really wasn't that hard!) it sped me up so much, and I relaxed into the knitting much more.

So, here's my finished jumper! Deputy Katy took a snap of me wearing it whilst we had tea earlier (very civilised!). Yes, there are some mistakes in the lace pattern (I'm sure you'll spot them), and the sleeves somehow are almost full-length on me (I'm not sure if I have very short arms, or if my tension just went a bit loose once I relaxed into the pattern?), and I look a lot less glamorous than our slim and sultry model, but I am very proud of this knitting feat! And I do think it looks rather good!

Katie 's Jumper

If you want to knit the jumper too, it was from issue 115, May 2013. You can order a back issue at www.thegmcgroup.com, or by telephoning 01273 488005. You can find errata for the pattern here.

Knitting celebrities

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

19 February 2014

We know that you know, and you know that we know that knitting has ALWAYS been popular, and while we didn't expect the popular hobby to go anywhere, we're not quite sure we were prepared for it to hit the headlines as much as it has done lately. With celebrities such as Cara Delevingne picking up their needles in public, is knitting going to be the latest fad?

(C) Instagram

Cara sent this photo of herself to Instagram whilst being primped ready for a fashion show, and it seems to have taken the media by storm. A quick web search of 'celebrities knitting' brings up key terms such as 'strange celebrity hobbies'. We're not quite sure we would class knitting as strange, celebrity or otherwise!

Will we see hoardes of people suddenly running for their LYSs (local yarn shops), clamouring for patterns, and fighting over the last pair of 4mm needles? Or will this be one of those things that people shrug off as a 'quirk' of some of our favourite household names? All we can say is, when it comes to knitting, the more the merrier!

While we could feel smug that we were 'into knitting' before it 'got cool', we in the Knitting office think that the new popularity of the hobby amongst celebs (with the likes of Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Scarlett Johansson, Julia Roberts and Ryan Gosling all stiching away recently) should be celebrated. How many more people might discover the joys of knitting now, when they previously might have considered it as old-fashioned or unfashionable. We, of course, know that's not true, but maybe the word will spread that little bit further now!

Baby season

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

14 February 2014

Main (1)

Recenty I have become convinced of the fact that life comes in seasons. At the moment I think it is baby season (no, not me!) - it seems like all of my friends are pregnant. Naturally, I took this as a good opportunity to get down to some serious knitting. With some of my friends about to 'pop' any day, some of them shuffling around under lovely big bumps, and some of them secretly whispering, "Don't tell anyone yet, I'm six weeks pregnant!" I needed a good, reliable pattern that I could knit quickly, would suit both boys and girls, that wouldn't take up too much yarn, and that I could easily hide away should any of the friends in question pop round for a cup of tea.

I cast my mind back and remembered a pattern I'd found online when I was at university and one of my cousins had had a baby. It was a gorgeous bib in one colour that had a heart pattern that emerged through the use of moss stitch and stocking stitch. I must have been knitting for about a year at this stage, so the pattern can't have been too complicated and I was convinced I would be able to replicate it well and multiple times now that I'm *slightly* older than a first-year uni student.

Close Up (1)

After an image search I discovered the pattern and the designer - it was a Heartbeat bib by Elaine Fitzpatrick. I did another search for her name and I discovered Elaine's wonderful blog, Down Cloverlaine! I quickly located and printed her free pattern for 'my' bib and got to work. The heart motif appears on the bib like magic as the pattern progresses and it really is easy to knit, and works as a fantastic introduction to short-row shaping (sounds scary, but you wouldn't believe how easy it is!)

White

So, here are my bibs. The white one is finished. I knitted it in a cotton 4ply, on 3.5mm needles. I should have used finer needles for the yarn, really, to give it a good density, but my 3mm have a lace scarf on them, which has been in progress for... er... maybe two years! This seems a little flimsy, and there are small gaps in my moss stitch, I guess where my tension isn't quite perfect (it's funny how your knitting alters after a stressful day compared to a calm one!)

Blue

The blue is almost finished. It's knitted in Rico Design Baby Cotton Soft DK (I think the shade, officially, is Light Blue, though the ball band is wedged between my sofa cushions at home, currently). I used the same 3.5mm needles and it is coming along perfectly! I think this is the ideal yarn/needle combo, it has great stitch definition, it will absorb moisture well when used, it makes my stitches look very neat and even (which they aren't necessarily, as a rule!), and it has the right amount of weight, I think. I should get two bibs out of one ball.

Time to knit some pink bibs, too, to cover all eventualities! Do look at Elaine's blog, which is absolutely full of free knitting patterns for bibs and cloths - they are gorgeous! I can't decide which design to knit next (though I do LOVE this heart one, and I do like to knit, knit and knit again once I come across a pattern I love!), but maybe the cupcake or the dinosaur, or the bear, or the duck... in fact I am considering knitting a blanket made up of the 'dish cloth' squares, featuring all the animals!

To view and download all the free patterns visit downcloverlaine.blogspot.co.uk

(oh, and as for the socks of my last blog... still not finished!)

Sneak peek behind the scenes of our April issue

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

3 February 2014

 

Spring is definitely on its way. The sun is shining today (althugh it's still about 2 degrees) and the daffodils on my window sill are starting to show green shoots. In fact the gardener is pottering in the garden outside our office as we speak. 

It couldn't have felt further from spring though last week when we shot our April issue. An hour and a half drive to Guilford meant Editor Emma picked me up at 7.15am in the pitch black. 10 mins later we were on the A23, nose to bumper in red tailights. And stayed that way for nearly 4 hours as due to flooding they shut the A23. Oh yeah, and there was rain. And hail.
After passing Jeni, our Hair & Make up artist, also on route to the shoot, in the next lane we made the executive decision to come off at the nearest junction. That lead to a highly adventurous journey down woodland lanes, through alarmingly big (and deceptively deep) puddles and eventually brought us, four hours later, to our destination. Our poor photographer and model had been waiting for us for hours – literally.
This, we decided, was going to be the quickest shoot in history. There was no way we were doing the return journey – through water and backwoods – in the dark!

We managed to shoot in the sporadic sunshine. Luckily Blackbirds, the 1960s location house we were using, has one entire wall of windows so let plenty of light in. 

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We were going for a modern preppy look, inspired by Fred Perry's awesome British knitting patterns, launched last year, and the preppy/sporty trend for spring. Model Emma was perfect.

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Well, it did in fact turn out to be one of the quickest shoots we've done. I think we managed to capture a spring-like feel with some lovely knitwear. At this time of year it really does help to have reminders that the next season is on its way. Sorry folks, you'll have to wait until 13th March to get your hands on this lot though!

      

Socks!

Katie Holloway

Katie Holloway

24 January 2014

Socks (1)

We've started a little challenge in our office, which we have been sharing on Facebook, that all started when Making Deputy Sophie wanted to learn how to knit socks. Making's Assistant Abi got involved, and now the three of us are racing to knit a pair of socks! I'd already finished sock 1, and was procrastinating starting sock 2 in the ever-familiar 'second sock syndrome'. This challenge is just what I needed to motivate me to knit sock number 2!

This caused somewhat of a stir on Facebook, and after requests for a) what the yarn is and b) where the pattern was, I thought I'd better create this post! The yarn is Grundl Four Seasons Hot Socks Spectra II 61 that was given to me by my lovely Mother-in-Law (I suggest Googling it!). The pattern is one that I devised myself. It's not terribly original, but here is my slant on it.

You will need:

Grundl Four Seasons Hot Socks Spectra II 61 1x100g ball

Four double-pointed 3.5mm needles

Sewing-up needle

Tape measure or ruler

Row counter/pencil and paper/knitting app!

 

Tension:

Not critical as very stretch. Plus, I didn't bother to do a tension swatch (naughty me!)

 

Size:

Should fit any foot - knit to length required. Don't be afraid to slip your foot in there between the needles to judge how much longer it needs to be.

 

Cast on 60 stitches (I like the thumb method) on one double-pointed needle (DPN) and then arrange so that you have 20 stitches on each of three DPNs.

Cuff Round 1: K3, p3 to end of round.

Continue in this way until cuff measures 3cm, or desired length.

Pattern Round 1: P1, k3, p3 to end of round.

Pattern Round 2 and 3: K all k stitches and p all p stitches.

Pattern Round 4: P2, k3, p3 to end of round.

Pattern Round 5 and 6: K all k stitches and p all p stitches.

Continue in this way, moving the three-stitch rib along by one stitch on every third row, until sock is desired length. Mine is 29cm long (though measuring it makes me wish I'd gone for the full 30cm, as it seems like a much more pleasant number).

Decrease Round 1: K2tog, k1 until end of round.

Decrease Round 2: K2tog until end of round.

To finish: Arrange stitches on two DPNs instead of three. Hold these parallel and cast off one stitch from each needle simultaneously. Bind off. Sew in ends. Turn inside out - this is now the Right Side. Knit the second sock ASAP!

They are remarkably easy to knit and look very effective! Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! I've knitted this pattern twice for my husband and he loves them too! (Though I used a 'more manly' yarn for him!)

I'd love to see your results from knitting these! Do send a picture to me! Email katie.holloway@thegmcgroup.com

Sneak peek at our Feb issue – on sale 16 Jan

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

10 January 2014

 

It feels like it's still the start of a new year but no, in magazineland, February has just arrived.

Sometimes, all the elements of an issue come together in perfect harmony to create  something so fabulous even we couldn't plan it. Don't get me wrong, we plan – a lot – but occasionally serendipity intervenes. We carefully planned the garments in this issue to be elegant, feminine and glamorous, it is, after all, still January, but they needed to be warm and confortable too. As the great Coco Chanel said: "Luxury must be comfortable otherwise it is not luxury". (Hear, hear)

We chose beautiful muted shades that fit together to create a soft and pretty gallery. We've used model Ivana before so we knew she was beautiful, and we'd booked the Swedish furniture showroom because it was calm and light and would let the garments do the talking.

Somehow though, this all came together to be even more than the sum of its parts to create one of the prettiest shoots we've ever done. Here, judge for yourselves!

Cable Jumper Main _8913 (1) Square Neck Main _8789 (1)

Smock Top Main _9073 Teal V Neck Main _9030 (1)

Diamond Lace PI_8982 Snood & Cuffs _9280

Cuffs PI_9296 Shawl Main _9242

Also, don't miss in this issue:

  • 20 knits for comfort and glamour - women's, men's, children's, babies, home and accessories
  • EXCLUSIVE patterns - Classic cable jumper, Diamond lace top, Devon, Lacy cabled sweater, Tessitura, Check poncho, Angora lace edged jumper, Leaf moss stitch sweater, Man's chunky cabled sweater
  • EXCLUSIVE Accessories – Half circle shawl, Lacy cuffs, Pretty snood, Purse, Pyjama case, Spiral cushion
  • Cute knits for kids - Baby girl's dress, Aran sweater, Boy's military style jacket, Spaniel puppy toy, Two bold bears booties
  • Spotlight on - Swinging sixties
  • FEATURE Busy hands, warm heart – a guide to knitting for charity
  • FREE supplement – Pretty knits – 6 accessories

And, of course, all the usual news, reviews, competitions, products and events you expect from your favourite Knitting magazine.

 

5 reasons to look forward to January

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

8 January 2014


It's a week into January, Christmas is over, New Year is over, half the country is under water and every time we look up the newspapers are shouting at us THESE ARE THE WORST STORMS WE'VE HAD IN 1 MILLION YEARS. It's all getting a bit tedious so here are 5 reasons to think and act positively in January.

 

1. De-stash
No, seriously, hear me out. Everybody has a stash monster. More needles than they will ever use. And tools and equipment they're not even sure what they do. New year is the perfect time to be ruthless and get rid of what you don't need. Come February you will have slid back into your daily rhythm of life and 'won't have time'. Do it now while you're still fired up with the things you're going to do this year. 

Knitting +needle +storage +mason +jarsImage by Talia Christine

 

2. January sales
See, told you to stay with me. Once you've got rid of your useless single needles and that eyelash yarn that you have no idea where it came from, now is the pefect time to replenish your knitting bag, your sewing box or your craft room. Bag a bargain while shops are trying to clear stocks to make way for the new season products due to arrive.

Pink -sale -pic

 

3. Plan your craft calendar
Crafty/knitty festivals, events, shows, weekends and exhibitions have been steadily on the increase and this year is choc-a-block with things to see and do. Let's face it, you can't do them all. Sit down and plan which you want to go to or when you are available (our Craft Calendar in our January issue currently on sale is great place to start!). Get your tickets, sort your accommodation (if needed) and sit back and relax. Now you have things to look forward to throughout the year!

Craft Calendar

 

4. Good TV is back!
When it's dark outside and the weather is hideous what is better than curling up in front of the TV and knitting? Staying in is the new going out. With the return of Sherlock comes the return of scandi murders (The Bridge), BBC adaptations (a new 10-part series of The Muskateers) and original dramas (Fleming based on the Bond author) – brilliant. Pass us the cocoa.

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Image (C) BBC

 

5. The February issue of Knitting is out!
On sale Thurs 16 Jan, we bring you 20 knits for comfort and glamour. Softly romantic, elegant and feminine patterns – no cherubs or heart shaped mug hugs in sight! Phew, January is saved.

001_OFC_KNIT_125 (2)  Square Neck Main _8789
Cable Jumper Main _8913 Teal V Neck Main _9030

 

Sneak peek at our January 2014 issue – on sale Thursday!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

17 December 2013

 

 


Usually January is a rather quiet time. Post Christmas/New Year celebrations, things can look a little pale, muted and wan. Not us, we thought. Let's 'chase away the winter blues' with some bright colours and fun textures!

Whether you want bold solid colours with interesting shapes...

Dip Hem Main _7327 Next Month _7767

Or adventurous designs with intriguing textures...

Bobble And Stripe Main _7847 Bright Nordic Main _7375

... there is something for you in this issue. We even have super cute accessories that fit all those categories!

Hat & Scarf Main _7978 Socks And Water Bottle Main _7910 (3)

 

Also, don't miss in this issue:

  • 22 knits to beat the winter blues - women's, men's, children's, babies, home and accessories
  • EXCLUSIVE patterns - Dip hem sweater, Lattice lace jumper, Bow jumper, Bobble and stripe jumper, Striped yoke dress, Bright Nordic jumper, Suzannah coat and beret
  • EXCLUSIVE Accessories – Cable and stripe scarf, Cocoon bobble hat, Stripey scarf, Turban headband, slouchy socks, Mini hot water bottle cover
  • Cute knits for kids - Baby romper suit and hat, Petra sweater, Fairisle sweater, Girl's pea coat, Super sloth toy
  • INTRODUCING NEW COLUMN – out and about with 'The Crafter'.
  • Spotlight on - Checks
  • FEATURE All creatures great and small – meet Julie Arkell
  • CRAFT CALENDAR – Your guide to THE shows, festivals and events in 2014

And, of course, all the usual news, reviews, competitions, products and events you expect from your favourite Knitting magazine.

 

 

Sneak peek at our Dec issue – on sale TODAY!

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

21 November 2013

 

It is very hard to get all enthusiastic about Christmas when you are working on a December issue in September. Especially if you're still basking in the warm glow of the amazing summer we just had. Which is why our Dec issues tend to be 'winter' themed rather than Christmassy. Well, somehow we have created the most Christmastastic issue we've ever done here (though of course in our typical classy way!).

And now we're well over half way through November, even Scrooge can't get angry at celebrating Christmas 'too early'. In fact, now our Christmas issue is on sale it feels like Christmas REALLY has arrived! 

The gallery this month is full of beautiful, elegant garments and accessories to take you seamlessly though the festive season.

Whether you're dressing up for parties...

Sirdar Coat Main 770 Dawn Main 178
Capelet Main 484 (2) Hearts Wrap Main 542

... or staying snuggly and warm, we have it covered.

Snow Leopard PI 109 Nordic Jumper Main 227
Drift Main 833 Nordic Scarf Main 700 (1)

Of course there is a smattering of Christmas decorations; bunting, stockings and snowflakes for the tree PLUS 9 extra 'Christmas Gifts to Knit' for when you need a lovely but quick-to-make gift that you can whip up in an evening or weekend!

Also, don't miss in this issue:

  • 30 knits for an elegant Christmas - women's, men's, children's, babies, home and accessories
  • EXCLUSIVE patterns - Snow leopard jumper, Nordic jumper, Fairisle yoke sweater, Dawn cardigan, Puff sleeved top, Midnight stripe top, Whisper, Bramble lace cape, Nordic scraf, Shawl of hearts, Drift beret and collar
  • EXCLUSIVE – Sirdar vintage floor elngth coat reknitted, with pattern updated, exclusively for us!
  • Cute knits for kids - Patch pocket jacket, Star jumper, Girl's party dress, Polar bear toy
  • Christmas collection – Christmas stocking, bunting and snoflake decorations
  • 9 Extra Christmas Gifts to Knit – Cosy slipper socks, Mittens with a Pop, Mna's scarf. Melodie gloves, Soft cape, Crush hat, Mini stockings, Wavy dolly bag, Vintage roses tea cosy
  • Spotlight on - Cool as ice

And, of course, all the usual news, reviews, competitions, products and events you expect from your favourite Knitting magazine.

 

We're knitting even when we're not Knitting

Katy Evans

Katy Evans

4 November 2013

 

Working for a Knitting magazine isn't the kind of job you just pack up at the end of the day, go home and don't think about about until you're back in the office the next morning. At least we don't. Our office is full of creative people making up the teams for Knitting magazine, Making magazine and Making Jewellery. We are always pointing out to each other programs that were on TV last night that might be of interest to each others mags' readers, projects or artists that could provide inspiration, newspaper articles, shop windows, online videos that we'd come across, you get the picture.

So I thought I'd give you an example of a typical Monday morning in our office. 

My mum visited friends in Bury St Edmunds at the weekend. They took her to a fab wool shop, which turned out to be Wibbling Wools!

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She emailed me pics of the shop, telling me how much she liked the camper van-come-counter top in the cafe and that having said her daughter worked at Knitting magazine, I had in fact been spotted at the K&S Show by proprietor Lyndsey. They then proceeded to google me on this very blog!

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I then told my colleagues in the office about this chance meeting. Which promted our mag designer Claire to get out her phone and show us pics she took on her day off last week at Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford, of the Fred Perry Store and their 'British Knitting Patterns' window display. 

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She also noticed Oasis sneaking in some knitting in their window displays too. 

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Which then reminded me that Editor Emma had pointed out last week I should really go and have a look at the Accessorize shop window in Lewes high street, which I did and I showed everyone the pic I took of it.

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Remind you of anything...?

K121 Final Cover

Which then promted myself and Claire to laugh about how one evening last week I was so excited to see this in a supermarket I bought it immediately for the office advent calendar, even if I was at the time nearly 2 months early, and text her the pic while I was still in the shop!
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And that's just what we remembered in the first half hour. So, definitely no such thing as just 9 to 5 for us, and we love it!

We love to hear from you guys too so if you ever come across anything you think would be fun to share let us know! You can share with us on Facebook, send us a tweet on Twitter @KnittingMag or just email me at KatyE@the gmcgroup.com.