Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

The SnowFire DK Blanket January 31, 2018

 

snowfire

Knit yourself an heirloom with this spectacularly beautiful and warm double-layer blanket!

 

I’m so thrilled with the responses I’ve gotten to  my newest dk blanket design which was pre-released last week!

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I’ve been working on the SnowFire Blanket for many months–I started this project at home in Nova Scotia, it was my constant companion throughout John’s and my time on the UK Canal system, and I’ve been happily knitting on it since my return.

 

This project makes for wonderful travel knitting: interesting, colourful, technically pleasing, but still portable and fun.  My blanket is certainly well-travelled: as a matter of fact, it is with me in Quebec right now!

 

stitchmaps

The SnowFire DK Blanket pattern is more of a workshop-in-a-pattern, as it includes 15 instructional videos and detailed Stitch-Maps charts.

 

 

knitcircus

I had such fun choosing the KnitCircus gradient yarns I would use for the blanket, and am thrilled with the results.  The yarn is gorgeous, a treat to work with and so extraordinarily soft.

How exciting, too, that the good folks at KnitCircus Yarns have put together a yarn pack based on the colours I used for my blanket!

 

 

sfedge

I am nearing the end now, and am applying edge treatments as we speak.  It’s been a gloriously enjoyable project, one which I will miss.

 

 

For more tips and techniques in double knitting, please consider joining my Double Knitting Technique Club.  This is the club for all who have discovered the magic of double knitting and are now lusting after more advanced forms of DK sorcery!
My Double Knitting Technique Club is full of an ongoing supply of new techniques in video format supplemented by workshop-style notes.

couchknitting

SnowFire and I on Big Tancook Island in January

 

 

Please note that the SnowFire DK Blanket is currently a pattern-in-progress.
While it is still on my needles and the pattern under construction, it is fit for use. I will continue to update it until it is complete with final pictures, video links and layout.

 

Happy DK Stitches!

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Long-Tail Cast On Revisited January 26, 2015

Air Conditioned Mittens from A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-knitters!

Air Conditioned Mittens from A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-knitters!

I love Long-tail cast-on! It’s so versatile and very easy to control. I opted for showing Knitted cast-on for my Brand New Knitter DVD as it includes so many elements that are repeated in an actual knit stitch and it will form stitches no matter how randomly they are made. But as soon as the basics are established and the knitter is comfortable with stitches, it will be time to explore the Long-tail method. This method is, in essence, a series of stitches (made with the ball yarn) knitted through a series of loops (made with the tail yarn).

It is otherwise known as Continental cast-on – but the name “Long-tail” reminds the knitter that a long tail of yarn is needed. I’m all in favor of helpful names!

In this video I demonstrate Long-tail cast-on and explore some of its many attributes!

I  demonstrate this cast-on by using two colours to differentiate the functions of the tail and ball yarns. It’s important to understand the role of the two yarns. If you use your tail yarn to make the twists around the feet of the new stitches, it can be unpicked or cut away at a later time as a form of provisional edge (not the most convenient one, but it will work).

Estimating the tail length is often cited as a problem with this method.  I recommend 4 times the width of the edge, which is usually perfect. You don’t want to have to economize on tail yarn length because you are running out, else your edge will wind up too tight. The tail yarn controls the spacing between the stitches (and YOU control the tail yarn).

Fear of tangles in the tail yarn sometimes leads knitters to economize on the length, too. No problem dealing with that: If you wind the tail into a butterfly, it keeps it tidy and allows it to turn and release the twists that tend to un-ply, and hence weaken, your tail yarn.

Long-tail calls for a little finesse from the knitter in balancing the tension between the two yarns. There is no reason why the new stitches should ever be tight. There is no need for a larger size needle to be used, either, as this only leads to baggy stitches and won’t affect the width of your edge.  You are in control of the tension and of the spacing of the stitches.

You’re the boss.

If you enjoy my You Tube videos – please tell your friends and sign up for my channel lucyknit

The Air Conditioned mittens pictured above in Abstract Fibers yarn, used Long-tail cast-on before the “holey” edge. This pattern is available in my ebook A Little Book of BIG Holes for Hand-knitters!

 

Happy December! December 1, 2014

Filed under: Patterns,Sale,Yarn — happystitches @ 09:56
Tags: , , , , , ,
This year's Christmas Tractor has arrived!

This year’s Christmas Tractor has arrived!

We enjoyed a lovely Open House for our local knitters on Saturday afternoon.  I was happy to see some familiar faces, and loved meeting several new-to-me knitterly friends.  All in all, a huge success: the BOGO sales were enthusiastically embraced, Holly’s cookies greatly appreciated and many of us took the time for a bit of knitting around the kitchen table.

Farmall Super H

 

John had started decorating the Christmas Tractor, which was greatly admired by all.

 

We didn’t forget our Online Knitting Community and, with all of you in mind, have baked up a few low-cal Holiday treats at the website, as well!

From now until December 14, check out our Holiday Sales Bundles!  Most of these include two of my “Learn with Lucy” titles at 40% off  paired with an appropriate free pattern.  We’ve also included an eBook special, featuring my three digital titles: Cool Socks Warm Feet, Cool Knitters Finish in Style and A Little Book of BIG Holes for HandKnitters!

The Clearance Section is filling up with BOGO yarns, knitting needles and jewelry.  They’re going fast and we’ll be adding more products throughout the month. (Please remember that the items added later in the month may require express shipping if they are to arrive in time for the Holidays!)

Fiesta Stocking

a beautiful Fiesta Stocking knit by Susan, using our locally dyed BFL Aran yarns

 

And finally, I’ve introduced a new Sale Concept this year: my Online Advent Calendar will feature one of my downloadable products every day between now and December 24th.  Please note that each Daily Advent Calendar Deal will be available for 24 hours only, so check the Newsbox often.  To start the month off right, today’s item is my Fiesta Stocking pattern: you’ll have plenty of time to knit one before Christmas if you start now!

Wishing a Happy Start to the Festivities to you and yours! I’m looking forward to a busy month preparing for family visits and all of the Holiday excitement.  The countdown has begun!

Lucy

PS Poseidon the cat will be choosing a winner of Holli Yeoh‘s new Tempest Knits book later this week.

 

Join Me for a Pattern-In-Progress? December 12, 2013

zinnia8
My Zinnia blanket is garnering so many likes and passionate requests to knit it  that I’ve started to think of releasing the pattern-in-progress whilst the blanket is still being created. I’ve never done this before, I don’t even know if it’s a good idea.
It will be months before Zinnia is finished, washed, blocked and photographed. But RIGHT NOW is of course the ideal time to start one (for Northern hemisphere knitters). It would get bigger, and cozier on your lap throughout the winter months!
zinnia1

My Zinna is several weeks old now. Its speedy growth has been aided by several long waits in the hospital Emergency department and a couple of road trips. As the rounds get longer, the visible growth of the blanket will slow down. (I hope too, to be spending less time in Emergency, but I am keeping extra yarn, future colours and needles in a bag ready to grab at a moment’s notice.)

zinnia2

I love having this project always on hand without any imminent decisions to make. Once the first few fiddly rounds are done, it’s a very intuitive knit.
zinnia3
After having finished the Sunburst Blanket, I missed its constant companionship and its always-there-when-you-need-it-ness.
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I held out for a full 6 weeks, during which I knit a couple of fleeting items, but the hankering remained for another big project. In desperate need of some travel knitting, I cast on another Sunburst as I flew to Cornwall Yarns in New York. Naturally, I couldn’t resist making a few changes, based on some of my smaller circular experiments, to see how the design would grow.   Zinnia happened!
zinnia5
With so much interest in the blanket, I started thinking of ways to make the pattern accessible to other knitters sooner.  Here is what I’ve come up with:
We could offer the pattern and tutorial videos to customers who are registered users on our website. Interested customers would contact us ( at info@lucyneatby.com), and we would organize payment.  We would then place the current PIP (pattern-in-progress) into your Notebook, to be updated as the PIP is further refined. Eventually, it will evolve into the ‘real’ finished pattern complete with photos. It wouldn’t be available as a ‘regular’ pattern on the website until its completion. It would be an ultimate knitalong! We could even start a Ravelry thread together –  I can hardly wait to see other people’s blankets growing.  Ultimate gardening!
zinnia6
Pros:
You can start knitting right away!
We can form a knit-along group to share progress reports.
You’ll get to see the growth and progress of a pattern from the designer’s perspective and hear about the stages of its development.
zinnia7
Cons:
The pattern won’t have many/any pretty pics just yet.
You may knit faster than me and have to wait a bit.
Let me know your thoughts! Would you like to join my  Zinnia PIP experiment?
PIP has now gone live visit the Club page for information.
 

My Early-Bird Holiday Sale Starts Tomorrow! November 25, 2013

Filed under: books,DVDs,home,Sale,Yarn — happystitches @ 13:56

With my busy work schedule this month compounded with at-home nursing duties, November seems to had come and gone in the blink of an eye!  Last week found Stephanie and me looking at one another in amazement: “the sale is next week!”

We’ve been planning this for some time, and knew we’d like to offer some great deals to our dear customers , but now it’s upon us and we need to get it in writing!

Join us at LucyNeatby.com or in person for our Pre-Inventory Holiday Sales this week and next!

Join us at LucyNeatby.com or in person for our Pre-Inventory Holiday Sales this week and next!

So, without further ado, I would  like to announce my Holiday Sales! I am hosting two this year: an Online Sale at LucyNeatby.com, which starts tomorrow, November 26, 2013 and will last ten days (until Friday, December 6), and a grand in-person sale at my studio in Dartmouth for local knitters, which will be held during the afternoons of November 28, 29 and 30 from 1:00-4:00 pm.

Below is the short list of sale items for my Online Customers:

  • My gorgeous Blue-Faced Leicester Aran-Weight Wool will be reduced by 40%: $11.70 instead of the usual $19.50
  • Try a new Kauni colourway at 20% off: $19.95 instead of the usual $24.95 (due to a currently reduced inventory, this discount applies to all Kauni Effektgarn and Solids except  EQ-Spectrum and  NN1-Oatmeal)
  • My locally dyed Celestial Merino Honeypot  100% Merino Yarn is 40% off: $14.70 instead of the usual $24.50
  • All other Celestial Merino yarn will be 20% off: $19.60 instead of the usual $24.50
  • My Learn With Lucy DVDs  will be on sale for the first time!  We will have them priced at $19.95 instead of the usual $29.00
  • The Learn With Lucy Video Downloads will be $12.99 instead of the usual $19.99
  • Both versions of my  books, Cool Socks Warm Feet and Cool Knitters Finish in Style,  will be reduced by 50%.  That is: Cool Socks  will be $12.50 instead of $24.95(paper) and $8.00 instead of $16.00(digital) and Cool Knitters will be $11.00 instead of $22.00(paper) and $8.00 instead of $16.00(digital)

Local knitters will be offered the same deals in-house, along with some additional in-person specials on items we’d like to clear from our shelves–you’ll just have to come by and have a look for yourselves!

Please note that the sale items at LucyNeatby.com will already have their discount applied.  Shipping and Handling fees, as well as all relevant taxes are not included in the listed prices. Sales on shippable items are applicable while supplies last.

I hope you’ll find something wonderful for yourself or a knitting friend in time for the Holiday Season!

Happy Stitches!

 

A Taste of Les Îles de la Madeleine! October 5, 2013

Les Iles de la Madeleine--well worth visiting! (Don't forget to bring your knitting)

Les Iles de la Madeleine–well worth visiting! (Don’t forget to bring your knitting)

My bi-annual Adventure Knitting trips take me all over in the cause of great knitting fun and friends, and we like to seek slightly off-beat travel methods and destinations. With the notable exception of one trip to the Galapagos Islands, Judy Fawcett and I focus our travel trips within Canada. Ours is such a huge and magnificent country, that it isn’t hard to find beautiful and out-of-the-way spots to visit.
Our home away from home, the CMTA Vacancier

Our home away from home, the CMTA Vacancier

This year found me, suitcases in hand, standing somewhat bemused on the docks in Montreal. Along came a coach, happily containing my merry Knitting Gang which had already had some time to tour the city together! It was time for the Adventure to begin.
We dropped off bags and cases (many of which were already brimming with yarn after a few days shopping) and boarded the CTMA Vacancier, our home for the next two days and nights.
knitting our way down the St Lawrence River

knitting our way down the St Lawrence River

We knitted our way down the St. Lawrence River and out into the Gulf until we made landfall at the microscopic chain of islands known by Anglophones as the Magdalen Islands.  Their correct french name is Les Îles de la Madeleine. There is very little English spoken in this region of  Quebec, which was especially noticeable on this trip. During the English safety talk at the start of our journey, we discovered that the ferry had only a handful of other English speakers aboard apart from our group! This just added to the fun. The crew of the ferry were delightful and the atmosphere aboard simply jolly whatever the language.
knittingwithcompany
We improvised for classroom space and held informal classes in many spots on the ship. We tried a number of different saloons, the dining room outside of meal service times, but best of all was out on deck one afternoon. This further increased my repertoire of weird teaching venues (trains, planes, coaches, ferries, Chinese restaurants, next to an expresso machine, from ship to ship by VHF radio to name but a few I can remember). I haven’t tried a hot air balloon yet – any takers?
Everyone enjoyed making their own Igloo Cowl or Hat

Everyone enjoyed making their own Igloo Cowl or Hat

I had brought play yarn along for everyone, and, without any undue coercion, everyone decided on tackling a double knit Igloo Cowl or Hat. Originally designed as a top-down hat, it can also be tackled from the bottom up (thus avoiding the perfect circular, tubular, double layer cast-on which is wonderful, but fiddly, and maybe not recommended for poor light situations). For the determined and fearless, the top down version offers more flexibility for sizing and is my personal favourite!
Travel by school bus was part of the Adventure!

Travel by school bus was part of the Adventure!

We were well underway by the time we docked at Cap aux Meules Island two days later. Our land program saw us board a school bus and be transported along a 50 km road to the far end of the island to our Inn (or Auberge).
The Îles de la Madeleine are so slender, it’s a wonder they haven’t yet been washed away!  Long, thin and windswept would be a brief description. For most of the bus ride  we could see sea on both sides. However, this doesn’t do justice to the spectacularly eroded red cliffs, miles of magnificent golden sand beaches and the brightly coloured houses: lime, purple, turqoise, orange, teal, pink, yellow–all of my favorite colours! Unfortunately,  I don’t have a photo of the houses; they are so widely scattered it was hard to get more than two into any photo.  Just imagine a handful of coloured bricks sprinkled across the hills.
Firewood is created by stacking piles of driftwood teepee fashion out side the houses,  it is left this way for a couple of years to wash out the salt before burning. There are hardly any trees of any size on the island. The wind has to be experienced to be appreciated (and it wasn’t excessive whilst we were there). There a number of cycling companies that take their tour groups to the windward end of the island to start their ride each day!
The fabulous beaches impressed us all!

The fabulous beaches impressed us all!

We walked along the beaches, toured some of the many fishing harbours and visited beauty spots, all the while steadfastly knitting on. We tasted and sampled our way around the islands. Fish and seafood were staples. We did once see a cow. In fact, we are sure we saw the same cow every time we went anywhere, but it did look lonely.
We couldn't resist sampling the local brew

We couldn’t resist sampling the local brew

We naturally endeavored to support the local brewery: I admit to only sampling the Corps Mort 12% brew!

We quit our spacious steady rooms at the Auberge on our last Island-Day and returned to the dear old CTMA Vacancier after a slap-up sunset diner at a former convent. It felt like returning home and the cabins no longer felt quite as tiny as they had before. Offloading the burden of yarn I had started my journey with helped too!
Did I mention that my sister joined us on this lovely journey?  Though she likes to refer to herself as a beginner-knitter at best, she put us all to shame with her double-knitting prowess!

Did I mention that my sister joined us on this lovely journey? Though she likes to refer to herself as a beginner-knitter at best, she put us all to shame with her double-knitting prowess!

The weather was ideal for al fresco knitting on the way back upriver. Our two last ports of call were  Chandler and Quebec City. In lovely Chandler we were treated to a magnificent display of gannets feeding.
How lovely to have made new knitterly friends on this fantastic adventure.  I can't wait for the next one!

How lovely to have made new knitterly friends on this fantastic adventure. I can’t wait for the next one!

All in all,  this was a magnificent trip with some stunning knitting successes being achieved, although I’m not sure what the rest of the passengers thought of us wearing hats to breakfast on the last morning!
I was sad to say farewell to such a great group of friends and fellow travelers – I can only say I’m looking forward to seeing many of you again in Manitoba in August 2015! We will be going north….
 

Texture in DK #6 February 25, 2013

Filed under: Double-layer knitting,Knitting tips and hints,Yarn — happystitches @ 15:04
Mirror Mirror Scarf with a novelty yarn

Mirror Mirror Scarf with a novelty yarn

Texture isn’t just limited to stitches.

Here are examples of a simple chequered motif (the Mirror Mirror Scarf), in one I’ve used a silk ribbon yarn paired with a fine angora luxury yarn used triple. The angora yarn was tripled as I knit (by the Navaho method).

In the one on the right, I used Noro Kureyon and a fluffy novelty yarn with limited colour variation. I could have further enhanced the effect of the fluff by working those sections in reverse stocking stitch.

I have also tried using a ladder yarn against a plain background with good results. A fine (or even transparent) yarn can be supported with a backing of a heavier yarn.

Yarns of different textures

Yarns of different textures

Silk ribbon and fine angora blend (used triple)

Silk ribbon and fine angora blend (used triple)

 

 
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