Veronica hat by hshandcrafts geometric colourwork motif

A new hat pattern – test knitters required

Over the last few weeks I have been hard at work developing a new hat knitting pattern.

Meet Veronica – a fun yet simple knit in a cosy aran or worsted weight yarn with a modern geometric motif created in colour work. The hat is worked in two colours; a solid background colour with a bright contrast for the geometric pattern.

Veronica hat from hshandcrafts

Knit in 100% wool it is a snug and warm beanie to keep the wind out on the coldest of winter days!

It is quite easy knitting and only requires knowledge of:
long tail cast on
ribbing
colourwork
decreases

The hat is one size only and will fit an adult

It is knit in aran weight yarn in two different colours (less than 50g of each) on 4mm circular needles.

 

Test knitters required

The pattern is available now on Ravelry but this pattern is currently being tested – please be aware there may be some small errors. Any purchases before testing is complete will be updated with the finished pattern once available.

Speaking of testing, if you would like to help me out and get the pattern for free in exchange you can sign up to test knit this pattern here. I would love it if you could knit a version for me!

I really hope you all love this new pattern as much as I do and I cant wait to see your versions!

Don’t forget you can tag any of your makes with #hshandcrafts and I would love to see your Veronica hats too – just use the tag #hhveronica

 

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Wedding Season

New to Me” week has just drawn to a close on the Monthly Stitch and there were so many fantastic entries, which means I am so flattered that mine was picked as a finalist! You can read my post here, or go and see it over on the Monthly stitch. I would be so grateful if you wanted to go and vote for it too – and you should definitely go and check out the other entries, I am sure I will be buying up a few more indie patterns after seeing all of those fantastic makes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

With wedding season fast approaching I needed the perfect guest outfit for my Aunty’s upcoming nuptials. The wedding will be at the beginning of August and it is an outside affair. I needed the perfect dress – fancy yet not too flamboyant, summery yet amenable to the British weather!

After scouring the list of indie designers so kindly provided on this blog I set my heart on the Georgia dress from By Hand London. Having never used one of their patterns before I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out they give plenty of direction and there is even an online sew-along with more helpful tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, once I had read the instructions and looked at the pattern pieces I realised where my first problem would lie. That bodice. With the bodice made up of 5 separate pieces a full bust adjustment was not going to be easy and it was pretty obvious I was going to need a full bust adjustment looking at the size of the pattern pieces. This is where the sew-along came into its own. There were plenty of detailed instructions with photographs about what was required. So I followed the instructions and added a 1 inch wedge into the centre of each of the front bodice centre and side pieces and made a toile. It was not good! There was no way I was going to be decent with that bodice on a dress! – So I took matters into my own hands. The circumference of the bodice was fine, it was just the height, which the FBA described in the sew-along had not accounted for at all. I slashed all the bodice pieces in half horizontally and added another inch of height.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had figured out these changes to the bodice the rest was fairly plain sailing. The pattern recommended medium weight fabrics with a little bit of stretch but having looked at some pictures of others I wanted to use a slightly heavier fabric (to hide a multitude of sins on such a fitted dress!). I went with this gorgeous stripy jacquard from Fabworks. It’s pretty heavy for a dressmaking fabric and it frays constantly – my floor looked like I’d attacked the fabric with a shredder when I’d finished but the colours are amazing, a royal blue with stripes of pink, mint green and white running through it.

The details:

Pattern: By Hand London – Georgia dress

Fabric: Blue Jacquard from Fabworks

Alterations: Size 8 bodice with a one inch FBA and an extra inch of height added. Skirt is graded from a size 8 at the bodice to a 12 at the waist and a 14 at the hips

 

I probably could have afforded to go down a size at the hips but for a first go at this pattern I am pretty pleased with it. There are still some fit issues on the bodice but for a first attempt at a pattern from a new-to-me designer I am pretty pleased!

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If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or on my blog

My new go-to

It’s Indie Pattern Month over on the Monthly Stitch and there are loads of great things to see, interviews with indie designers, discount codes, competitions and best of all lots of amazing sewers making indie patterns! Last week for the first week of Indie Pattern Month the theme was dresses and there were some amazing winners. I submitted my most recent Heather dress from Sew Over It. You can read about it over on the Monthly stitch or find the post below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love it when you find a pattern that is perfect for you? Be it the style, the fit, or just how fun/easy it is to make. I am so pleased that I have recently found one of those patterns. As soon as the Heather dress by Sew Over It was released, I just knew I had to make it!

 

My first effort was a straight out of the envelope size 10 and it was a pretty good start. Once made I just had to nip a bit out of the back seams so that it wasn’t really baggy. However, just one wasn’t enough and so on my second version I made a few extra changes. I took a couple of inches out of each of those back seams as well as an inch off the waist at each side seam. I also added a bit of extra room into the bust by just curving those princess seams a to have an extra quarter inch. In order to make this dress different from the first I took 5 whole inches off the length! (Sometimes it pays to be short, you can really play around with the length of things!

For Indie Pattern Month, I have made my third version of this dress. This has pretty much the same alterations as the first, but this time the length is somewhere in between (only 3 inches off the pattern this time!) I also added an extra quarter inch to the bust (making that a total of 1/2 an inch on each seam). I really love the dress and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those that follow me on Instagram you will be well aware that I love anything blue and so this definitely fits in with my wardrobe! I really love that it is made from a knit fabric as it makes it so comfortable for everyday wear but it doesn’t look to obviously like secret pyjamas due to the way the fabric holds its shape. I always love a good Ponte de Roma and this one is no exception. It has a lovely feel to it and the pattern is super fun yet not too in you face (even if I do now match my curtains!!) I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching show back in spring at the London Olympia from Guthrie and Ghani and have been waiting for the perfect time to cut into it.

The pattern is pretty easy to follow. I got a bit confused the first time around the pockets but if you take your time and follow the instructions there is absolutely nothing to worry about as it is so well described.

The details:

Pattern: Sew Over It – Heather dress

Fabric: Blue diamonds Ponte de Roma from Guthrie and Ghani

Alterations: Size ten, 1/2in added to the bust on each princess seam, 1 inch taken out of each side of both back seams, 1/2in pinched out of each side seam at the waist, hem raised by 3 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Over It has always been one of my favourite Indie designers and the Heather dress is just another great pattern from them. I already have three but I can definitely see many more in my future!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagramon Instagram

Ginger Jeans

wp-1490528477313.jpgWay back in 2014 when the internet first went crazy for Ginger jeans I had not even begun to sew! Once I started making my own clothes, however, it quickly became apparent that these were definitely a benchmark project. It almost felt like there was some sort of secret guild of dressmakers that you would be allowed into once you had constructed your first pair.

So here we are two years into my dressmaking journey and I have made my first pair of jeans! They may not be perfect, but I love them! I love that they more or less fit, I love that they have wobbly top stitching and I love that they have secret sunshine in the pockets!

Never in my life have I owned a pair of jeans that fit. Generally, in order to squeeze my bum into them, they have to gape massively at the waist, so when I took my measurements and compared them to the packet I was completely baffled that I came out as a straight size ten on all measurements! So I went ahead and cut it out that way. However, when I had basted them together and had my first try, sure enough, there was gaping at the waist. This was when I went to the amazing Closet Case Files Sewalong for much-needed advice!

wp-1490528462707.jpgI took a wedge out of each yoke – around 3cm at the waist tapering to nothing at the bottom edge. I tried on again and the fit was so much better I decided to stop there, despite plenty room for improvement. On my next pair, I think I will attempt to make the crotch seam a little longer and possibly take some width out of the thighs but compared to anything I have worn before these are so much better! I did alter the length (by 3.5 inches!!!) but for me, that goes without saying.

I really enjoyed the construction of these jeans – it felt much more like construction than any other project I have completed) I think that comes from the rigidity of the denim and the many smaller fabric pieces than you get for dresses or skirts. I also really enjoyed that I had to take it slow – especially to keep swapping from my blue normal thread to the thicker yellow topstitching.

The details:

Pattern: High waisted view of Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files

Fabric: Stretch Denim from somewhere on ebay

Notions: 8 inch denim zip, Guterman jeans cotton thread and topstitching thread, rivets and jeans button from ebay

Alterations: Dart out of yoke and shortened leg

So now I have made jeans I feel like I can graduate from my personal dressmaking school and am ready to take on anything in my new jeans!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes (hint, there’s another Moneta on the go at the moment!!) over on instagram

A new knitting pattern and a giveaway!

 

Saxifraga is a warm and cosy hat knit in aran weight yarn with a simple geometric motif created in colour work. the hat gradually changes from colour A at the brim to B at the top.

This is my newest knit creation and the pattern is available to buy now on Ravelry!!

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Knit in aredblue-saxifraga soft drapy alpaca it creates the perfect slouchy beanie or in a tougher yarn it will make a thicker cosy hat to keep the wind out on the coldest of winter days!

I was searching for the perfect colourwork hat for some beautiful aran yarn I bought from Town End alpacas and just couldn’t find one that I loved so I designed one myself. I really love geometric designs and so decided to focus on triangles and diamonds in the colourwork motif.

It is quite easy knitting and only requires knowledge of:
long tail cast on
ribbing
colourwork
decreases

The hat is one size only and will fit an adult

It is knit in aran weight yarn in two different colours (less than 50g of each) on size 3.5 and 4mm circular needles.

I really hope you will love this hat as much as I do. Pictured here are some of the versions I have knit so far. I really love how it works in so many different colourways! From monochrome, to natural to bright reds and blues. So whether subtlety is your thing or you would rather go for brights this pattern will work for you.

 

 

 

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If you cant wait to get knitting I am giving away two copies of this pattern. One is available to my blog followers and the other one is over on instagram (look out for the picture on the left) so why not enter both for twice the chances of winning!

So, for my blog readers to be in with the chance of winning a copy of this pattern all you have to do is follow this blog and leave me a comment below telling me what colourway you would choose for your Saxifraga.

Giveaway is open until 17:00 GMT on Sunday 5th of March. So go and check out all of the test knits over on Ravelry for inspiration for your Saxifraga and let me know what colours you would choose in the comments and follow this blog to be in with the chance to win your own copy of the pattern.

And if you cant wait to find out if you’ve won don’t forget the pattern is available to buy now over on Ravelry!!

Dont forget to also enter over on Instagram for another chance to win!

Mimi Blouse

2017-01-21-10-42-49So in my last post, I said it would be getting a bit hectic and my posts would be coming few and far between. How right I was! It has been 4 months since I last posted! I must say I never intended for it to be quite so long. At least I can say it is not for a lack of crafting – in fact I have been doing quite a bit of that but actually, it seems to be the photography that is letting me down – I often just want to get on and use/wear/gift whatever it is I have just finished making.

 

 

 

But anyway, here I am…I have just finished making my first Mimi blouse! I really love this pattern and have been looking forward to making it ever since I got my TATB book. So when I picked up this beautiful swallows fabric from Cool Crafting at Christmas I knew immediately what it had to be. It wasn’t until I got home and frantically flipped through the book to find the pattern that I realised exactly why that was what I needed to make…something look familiar?

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Taking it slow

I knew how much I loved this pattern and had been looking forward to making it so I decided to take it slow. It really paid off as I am so pleased with how it turned out, the corners are sharp the seams are straight and the hems are even. I even managed to add some extra touches – like the buttons on the sleeves, I think they look really great at the join of the two pleats.

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And I even got to use my favourite sewing technique of all – gathers!

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The details:

Pattern: Mimi Blouse from Love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons

Fabric: Hubble and Rose cotton poplin from Cool Crafting

Notions: Pale blue buttons, Guterman thread

Alterations: None!

I do really love this blouse and can see myself making some more – I had planned another straight away in a quilting cotton I already have but I think anything with less drape than this poplin would be too stiff…what a shame I might have to go fabric shopping after all!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram– in fact, that’s probably the best place to keep up with my makes when I don’t have time to photograph them properly!

Blue Heart

Heart CowlI was looking back through my old posts to find out when I first started knitting this cowl and it turns out it was way back in April last year!For a long time it was a bit of a love-hate relationship. I hadn’t really knitted lace before and was really struggling with the pattern. After a few weeks I decided to give it a break and started work on my lacy shawl instead.

Both patterns are by designer Ambah O’brien and I really love them both. There is enough lace to make them feel delicate without being to fiddly and retaining that chunky knit feel I really love.

 

Having given this project a break I was quite pleased to come back to it. I love the yarn, and the pattern – and whilst hearts and normally my thing these have a geometric look to them which I find really appealing.

How could knitting this not make me happy - look at that blue on blue on blue!

How could knitting this not make me happy – look at that blue on blue on blue!

Once I was more confident with the lace this wasn’t too difficult a pattern to follow and a couple of long train journeys got me well on the way to being done.

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I actually finished this project quite a while ago and it managed to sneak into some of my me-made-may outfits. It was actually really great for those days when the weather is being particularly fickle and a cardigan isn’t quite always enough. This as an extra layer was perfect for taking on and off as the temperature dropped.

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I really like the length. It is plenty long enough to comfortable wrap around twice without being tight. Also, because it is blue it goes with pretty much all of my clothes! I’m so glad I persevered with this pattern as I think it will get a lot of use!

 

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If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current knitting projects on Ravelry where I share more details on what I thought of the yarn, the pattern and any tips or tricks I found to make it easier  for me to make.

Chuck Jumper

 

NEWSFLASH: I have a new favourite thing!

Chuck JumperI absolutely love this jumper. It took me just about 2 months to knit and I loved every minute of it! The yarn is lovely, the pattern is lovely, the jumper is lovely. I just want to curl up in it forever!

Ok so I think you get the picture that I really like this jumper! Let me tell you a bit more about it. It is the chuck jumper pattern by Andi Satterlund but made into a full length version instead of the cropped version featured in the pattern. It is in a lovely navy wool and it is super warm and cosy!

New Skill alert

After having knit only about 30 stitches of this sweater I came across my first new skill requirement – short rows. After a bit of googling I found a great tutorial on Purl Soho, and it turns out it really is as simple as it sounds. You just knit a short row , so don’t knit all the way to the end and then turn around and come back. Well, actually before turning you have to wrap the yarn around the next stitch but this is super easy and stops big gaps from forming in your knitting.

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After overcoming this first challenge I thought it would be smooth sailing from there on in. This was only my second knitted garment but it was from the same designer as my first one: Miette. However, whilst the basic construction was pretty simple I hadn’t factored in the cables. Don’t get me wrong, I did practice cables first on my hat before jumping straight in to a jumper covered in them but what was complicated was the way the repeats of the cables didn’t really match up and the pattern for the cabling was written separately to the pattern for the jumper. so there was lots of jumping around the pattern trying to find “stitch pattern 2” and then remember what row I was up to on each stitch pattern. Surely there’s an app for this sort of thing? If any one knows about it I’d love to hear from you!

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Unsure about the length of the jumper I decided to stop knitting the body before I reached the bottom band and transferred the stitches onto scrap yarn. The length was perfectly fine as a cropped jumper but I thought it  might be quite fun to try and adapt the pattern to make it longer. However, I was unsure if I would have enough yarn, so wanted to knit the sleeves first.

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The next new skill came when I began on the sleeves and the construction required a sleeve-cap. The instructions were to pick up the stitches around the armhole and then knit from the armpit to the top of the sleeve. Then using short rows gradually construct the sleeve cap by making each row one stitches longer than the previous. The instructions were so clear I had a sleeve-cap before I had even realised what I was doing!

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Once the sleeves were done I still had three balls of yarn left so I decided to go ahead and lengthen the jumper. This was where the fun kicked in! As some of you may be aware I am a bit of a maths geek so I relished the opportunity to get a notepad up and do some sums. But that’s another post entirely so if you want to learn more about how I went adjusting this pattern to make the jumper full length keep your eyes peeled over the next few days.

The details:

Pattern: Chuck by Andi Satterlund

Yarn: Drops Nepal in Navy Blue

Needles: Drops Pro circular needles 4.5mm

Alterations: I lengthened the pattern to become full length instead of cropped – more details to follow

The yarn is so warm as it is 65% wool and 35% alpaca it is not too soft but this is not too much of a problem as I always wear a t-shirt under my jumpers. It was really nice to knit with and slid well along the needles and did not split very easily. Although my lovely metal needles are now a bit tarnished probably due to the rough nature of the yarn.

The pattern was easy to follow if a little annoying to have to jump back and forth between the garment instructions and the cable pattern but I guess this comes with the territory of cables. Once I had done the cable repeat once this wasn’t too bad as I had a rough idea what was going on anyway!

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I really like the cable design and think I did a pretty good job of them for a first proper attempt at cables other than my last hat. I especially like the twists that run down either side of the centre panel. The main cable design down the front is really good but I am not particularly neat at knitting single stitch cables yet. Maybe there is some special technique I am missing that stops these stitches looking looser than the rest. If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them!

In case you hadnt noticed yet, I really love this jumper and think I will definitely get loads of wear out of it. I don’t want to say it but its a bit of a pity spring has arrived as it might have to be shelved until next winter – but for the moment I am getting as much use out of it as possible with a pair of cropped jeans and slip on pumps with no socks to keep my temperature in check!

If you want to read some more of my notes on this pattern, what I thought about the yarn and for a sneak peak on how I lengthened the pattern you can check out my project page on Ravelry

Tulip Skirt

Tulip SkirtSo, this post has been a long time coming! I actually made this skirt way back in February but only got around to taking photos this weekend. So, given that you will have to excuse the odd crease as I have worn it a lot since then and on the first day I was well enough to not look a total mess and the light was good I didn’t want to waste any time cracking out the iron!

So, when I made this skirt, I had just signed up to the #VintagePledge, but I decided that I wouldn’t dive straight in to a vintage pattern. In fact, I went for the complete opposite extreme and picked a brand new one! When I saw the tulip skirt from Sew Over It had been released as a pdf pattern I knew I just had to have it. I love full-bodied skirts but I’m not sure that they really suit me all that well, I much prefer a pencil skirt. Well, the tulip skirt lies right between, the pleats add lots of fullness but the shape is maintained.

Stash Busting instead of buying new

P1010661eThis pattern calls for a fabric with a bit of body to it so that it holds the shape. Instead of rushing out to buy new fabric I decided to be good and take a look through my stash. In fact, I chose to use the same fabric as my previous make – this Megan dress. The fabric was so nice to sew and I was happy to be working with it again. I was also glad that it wouldn’t be going to waste! However, I had only just over a metre left and the pattern called for 1.8 m. I wasn’t put off though and decided to forge ahead anyway.

The pattern offers two different length options. Given my lack of fabric I opted for the shorter one but even so had to take another inch off to make it fit! I cut out the waistband facing and pocket pieces from a different fabric to reduce the amount of main fabric required.

Despite this project having lots of new-to-me elements it was actually really quick to sew. The first hurdle was the pleats in the front of the skirt. Even though I had never done pleats before these were super simple and the instructions made everything clear.

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Also, pockets! Can you believe this is the first garment I have added pockets to? I think I will be adding them to everything I make in the future as they are so simple to make, yet add so much practicality . Again, the instructions were clear and I never felt like I was struggling with this new technique. The pockets are just about visible from the outside but as my lining fabric is such a nice match I don’t think it matters and the added practicality of pockets clearly outweighs any negatives they might bring!

 

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One problem I did face with this make was the lack of an obvious right and wrong side on my fabric. This tripped me up a bit when it came to adding the pockets and sewing the side seams. I somehow managed to join the front piece with the wrong side facing out. As you can’t tell the difference on the fabric this is not a problem. It does however mean that my pleats are now going the wrong way. This does alter the look of the skirt a little but I still like it and can’t wait to make another with the pleats in the correct direction!

It seems that every time I insert an invisible zip it gets a little bit worse than the previous one. I still think my very first one on my first Delphine skirt was the best one I ever put in! This one is not terrible but you can see it in places. It doesn’t quite reach the top of the waistband but I think with this fabric it is not too noticeable. Also, I did not have a zip in navy or green to hand and so went ahead with a black one – it’s supposed to be invisible right so this shouldn’t matter!

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Any ideas about the slight gaping in the fabric around my hips?

 

I am so pleased with my pattern matching at the side seams. It wasn’t something I was particularly working hard to achieve. I like to think it makes cutting the pattern pieces out much easier if you place the top of each piece on the same point in the pattern repeat. This means it is a nice happy coincidence that the horizontal stripes match up.

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This was also the first garment I have made that has had any kind of hand stitching. The waistband facing is hand stitched. To be honest I was hoping to just turn under a little less than the seam allowance and use the same stitch-in-the-ditch technique as I used on my waterfall skirt. However, for some reason the waistband facing was shorter than the waistband in places so this was not going to work. I think this might be due to the different types of fabric I used cutting and stretching in different ways, but I’m not certain. I slip-stitched the facing to the skirt by-hand and I really like how it turned out. This makes me happy because I thought I would easily get annoyed with it. Patience is not always my strong point and with hand-stitching you need to take the time to keep it neat.

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Not sure how my hair has magically change from brown to red in this photo!?

Finally, I only turned the hem up by 1/4 of an inch, pressed and then another 1/4 inch before pressing again and sewing in place. This doesn’t look quite as neat as a wider hem but given the lack of fabric and shorter length cut it was about all I could do to keep it decent!

The details:

Pattern: Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It

Fabric: Tartan and lining from Fashion n Fabrics, St. Albans

Notions: Invisible zip, Gutermann thread in navy

Alterations: Size 12 short length, Shortened by 1 inch

I love this skirt and think I will get a lot of wear out of it. It kind of reminds me of a school skirt with its pleats but definitely in a good way! I can’t wait to make another and can see it quickly becoming one of my favourite patterns. It seems pretty versatile and the different length options open up so many possibilities.

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Can’t post about a skirt without an obligatory twirl photo

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and this is what happens when I get dizzy from too much twirling!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Facebook.

Avena Cowl

 

You may remember some time ago I shared with you the cowl I made my mum for her birthday. Well, I have eventually written up the pattern I created and it is available for you to download and make for yourself for free from Ravelry!


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How to name a pattern

Strangely enough the trickiest part of making this patternwas not writing the pattern itself – in fact its a pretty simple knit – but instead was coming up with a name. I always find it quite strange how so many patterns are named with girls names (I think this is more common for sewing patterns but it’s certainly still there for knitting and crochet). I obviously decided I wanted to be different and so rather than pick a girls name for my pattern I toyed with a few different ideas. Firstly I thought about place names and was all set to name this the Silverdale cowl after a little village near where my parents live but then after some searching on Ravelry I found that this two was pretty common. Instead I decided to combine two of my passions and go with plant names! and not just any pants either – I wanted to at least start with agricultural weeds – which is the thing I work on.

So here you have the Avena cowl. Avena is the generic name for oats. In particular this cowl is in tribute to wild oats and their beautiful long awned seeds. the stripes in the cowl just brought them to mind. So there you have it a beautiful cowl named after an agricultural weed – who would have thought it!2015-11-19 21.08.54

The details

Any way, enough about names. I’m sure you want to hear about the cowl itself. Avena is  an elegant cowl, with a full twist and alternating stripes of colour.

This cowl is perfect for the spring or Autumn and can be worked in any colour combinations whether two shades of the same colour for elegant style or contrasting colours for a fun addition to any outfit!

The cowl is worked in the round with a full twist to create a Möbius strip. This gives a great effect showing off both sides of the knitting.

Gauge is not particularly important and the number of stitches cast on can be easily adjusted to accommodate different sizes.2015-11-19 21.04.43

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on this pattern – any comments you have would be great or better still if you make one yourself I would love to see the pictures!!

Head on over to Ravelry to check out the pattern or go to my pattern page to find more of my patterns.