Pussy hats

A bit of a busy week for me so just a short post.

Whatever your political persuasion, in fact let’s put the politics aside, the 600+ women’s marches across the world were quite an awe inspiring moment on 21st January.  I had intended to go to the one in London but life got in the way, so I watched the 10 O’clock news with a growing sense of pride.

Of course I had seen the call for pink pussy hats going out since before Christmas thanks to the vision of cofounders Krista Suh and Jayna Zweiman, so I knew knitters and crocheters were busily making them, but it wasn’t until I saw the marches that I saw what had been achieved.  A simple pink rectangle was taking the world by storm. Makers that couldn’t get to a march were supplying these modern objects of solidarity for their brothers and sister to wear to show that we do care and it does matter.

Now some people may say ‘it’s just knitting’ but our humble craft has a long history of being used to raise awareness.  Whether it was les Tricoteuse perched in the shadow of the guillotine or Queen Mary’s army of knitters making socks for the troops, our craft galvanises a simple thing in to a statement of togetherness and a hope that each individual together can make a difference.

I am so proud of each and every knitter or crocheter who took the time. Seeing Time magazine and The New Yorker take the symbol to their hearts and covers makes me hopeful.  So if you are one of those makers I’d like to thank you.

A shameless bit of self-promotion

Hat 1

A few years ago, when I was editor of The Knitter, a lovely lady came on to our stand at Ally Pally.  She worked in the movie industry in Hollywood and was working on the promotion of one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.  We stayed in touch and have met up when she is in the UK. It tickles me that she works in such an amazing industry yet loves to craft and even set up The Depressed Cake Shop in her ‘spare’ time.  She is such an inspiration – love you Val.

Early in 2015 she got in touch about a movie she was working on as a producer.  I must admit when she told me about Eddie The Eagle I did wonder why it was being made, remembering how the press used to take the micky out of Eddie.  But with a cast including Hugh Jackman and Taron Egerton, Dexter Fletcher as the director and Marv Films behind the movie, I knew it was going to be a class act.  Val was contacting me to see if I could get a couple of jumpers made for Eddie’s movie mum and dad.  Apparently his gran used to knit all the family jumpers with ‘I’m Eddies Mum/Dad/Sister’ intarsia-ed on the front.

Luckily, one of my clients, Yarn Stories, was able to help and after a weekend sewing the garments together and finishing them off, I sent them to the filming at Elstree. It was such a tight deadline and I hate intarsia so I put in a couple of late nights to knit the front of the mum’s jumper. I get ridiculously excited every time I watch the trailer and see the jumper!

Fast forward to this January and the Sundance festival where Eddie The Eagle was launched to great acclaim.  Laura Zander from Jimmy Beans Wool took the Yarn Stories pattern and created some special jumpers for the premier and a social media campaign was launched – you may have noticed the tweets with #iKnitforEddie flying around.


The UK premier is next week so I have designed a special hat which is available as a free download here.  The chiselled cheek bones in the shot at the top of this post belong to my 17 year-old son who kindly modelled for me.  Yarn Stories have teamed up with the Mission to Seafarers and we are asking knitters to donate an Eddie hat to the charity – we already have 20 to give to them.

So if you have the time please knit a hat for this great charity.  Details of where to send the hat are on the pattern.


Artesano 4ply Alpaca Silk review

A quick little yarn review for you this week.

My eldest son turned 21 recently .  He’s studying 3D Design at Manchester Metropolitan University, so I wanted to knit him a really special hat for his Birthday.

He has always loved the artist Escher and the way he repeats patterns so I hunted high and low on Ravelry and found this cracking pattern called Metallic Tessallation.

Then came the question of which yarn to use.  I wanted one that was luxurious and made of very special fibres but which also had a palette of equally rich colours that would work for a men’s hat.I chose Artesano’s delicious, buttery 4ply Alpaca Silk in shades Merlot and Celadon.  The colour saturation is a feast for your eyes.

When the yarn arrived it was so soft on the hank I was worried that the hat would be too floppy so I dropped a needle size form the original pattern to give a slightly denser fabric. Because of the quality of the silk and alpaca used, they do have a long staple length so you might think the yarn looks a bit thin but it is the nature of a yarn as luxurious as this and it does plump up a bit after blocking. Incidentally I knitted the hat while in Australia and it was a pleasure to work with despite the 30C temperature outside so you may want to consider this yarn for summer holiday projects.

4ply alpaca silk

As you can see from the swatch this yarn gives a nice even fabric in both stocking and moss stitch.  I’m not sure it has enough density for cables but that is just my personal preference – I like nice dense cables.

The drape of this yarn when knitted up is quite outstanding so my next project is going to be a woven scarf for my dear mum in Creme Caramel and Chartreuse – I’m really interested to see how it performs on the loom. Any project that sits close to the skin would be perfect.

I have had to rely on my son taking a picture of the hat on his phone so that you can see the finished article – he loved it so much I didn’t have a chance to  shoot it properly – so sorry about the quality but you get the idea.


A Freebie for Mother’s Day

I have been working on a new hat pattern since Christmas and have been playing with the top of the hat just to see what would happen.  Instead of doing a K3tog I have been pairing up K2tog and SSK or SSK followed by K2tog.
If you throw colour into the mix you can get some really nice effects like this knitted in Jamieson of Shetland Spindrift.

Low and behold what you are actually knitting when you get to the top of the hat is my favourite shape in the world – a hexagon.  Which is making me take another look at my Beryl Blanket.  Fair Isle, hexagons, knitting in the round and no sewing up?????? Be still my beating heart.
But before I get ahead of myself a bit more about the Diamond hat.

Here is the top of the chart.  The decreases start with K2tog and finish with SSK.  I prefer my SSK to be ‘slip one knitwise, slip one purlwise and knit through the back of both stitiches’.  I find this helps the stitches to lie really well.

And here is the hat knitted in Gomitoi’s Cashmere 4 ply – yummy!

You can get the pattern free from the Gomitoli’s Facebook page.
Please make sure you like the page while you are there and Happy Mother’s Day.