Article

How to Drive a Maker Nuts

If you ask most knitters or crocheters what annoys them about their craft they’ll probably say. “yarn vomit”, “knots in balls” or, at a push “having to hide my yarn hauls from my family” AM I RIGHT FRIENDS? This article goes a bit deeper however, because I wanted to explore a little about the more gut-wrenching aspects of being a crafter that really stick in the craw. From pattern theft (if you follow me on Instagram – thank you – you’ll be WELL AWARE of my recent rants about this) to strangers chuckling at you for daring to be under 80 and enjoy knitting, I’ve got you covered. Let battle commence…

So, do you want to drive a Maker nuts? Why don’t you…

Ask a crafter to make you something for free.

I’m not sure which is the more insulting version of this: someone asking you to make them something for zero money or excitedly offering you a tenner for something that is worth ten times that (or more) in terms of labour and materials. It is of course possible that the person has literally no idea how much time and effort goes into creating a handmade item (and that’s not even including the design process) but that doesn’t mean you should undersell your work.
How to deal with it? Well, be honest. Explaining the process, how long it will take and exactly why you have to charge more than Primark for a blanket is a good place to start. If they still don’t get it after that you let them toddle off to buy something else and be done with it.

“LOL! Aren’t you a bit young to be knitting? LOL”

Lord give me the strength to deal with these ones. Aside from the lazy assumption that knitting is something that only a retiree can enjoy, what kind of person shames a person (especially if it’s a stranger!) for a doing a hobby they enjoy? Yeah, we know it’s ‘just a joke’ most of the time but it’s annoying af and yet another example of how fibre artists are not taken seriously.

Be a yarn snob

I unfollowed a person on Instagram last year because of this. The owner of a relatively high-end craft store in a city near me (the sort of LYS that doesn’t sell hanks for less than double figures), this woman would berate people who ‘insisted‘ on knitting using acrylic or cheaper yarns, completely baffled as to why anyone would even consider daring to work with anything less than mohair/silk blends rolled on the thighs of… You get the picture. This señorita had trouble understanding that the majority of people can’t afford to make things with expensive yarns because, well, they can’t afford it, no matter how much they’d love to. Luxury yarns are obviously fabulous, but most of us have bills to pay and/or kids to pay for and the idea of spending €40 on a 50g skein of yak makes our eyes water. I guess some folks have other priorities, or maybe they’re just so gosh darn rich that they can fill their stash with as many hanks of llama as they like without going overdrawn. By all means gush over luxe, but don’t shame those of us who can’t afford it.

Copy other people’s ideas and patterns

I don’t have enough space here to tell you why it really sucks to copy other people’s stuff, but I’m pretty sure you can work out why. Instagram is chock-full of examples of this: Pee-poor copies of well-known designer’s work with a slightly different take on it, maybe a pompom or two less, but it’s the same thing. I’ve even seen people copy a pattern or idea entirely and have the cheek to TAG the person they coped from in the description bx saying “inspired by – insert original designer here – “I’ve been so tempted to call this out in the past, but what can you do? It’s a sad fact that people who agree with naming and shaming are usually labelled as rabble rousers/trouble causers and that’s that. The only thing worse than this is pattern theft (be careful when you choose those pattern testers, huns) which is something I and a few of my maker friends went through last year. All I can say is that the people who steal or copy other people’s ideas have little clue how much work goes into the process, and it’s even worse when another designer you respect does it. Gross. Grossest of all though is that now most designers see theft as part and parcel of being a designer, and accept that this will happen to them at least once or twice. How can we solve this? It’s hard, but make sure you’re choosing carefully when picking testers, go with reliable people with proven, completed tests on their feeds, steer clear of people who are slow to respond to messages and give feedback, and go with that gut feeling; if you have a bad vibe from someone don’t even go there.

Ask a designer for their patterns for free or – possibly worse – parts of their work

Let’s explain this one a bit. One of my friends (a very talented, well-known crochet designer) was asked recently by someone for the measurements they use when designing garments (i.e one of the most complicated parts of garment design and not something you’d offer to anyone freely, even your pals), another was asked to deconstruct a finished sweater and write the pattern out for this random. For free, obviously. You don’t have to be into this kind of stuff to understand why this would annoy any designer. I’ve also heard tales of people asking others to pick apart finished garments in order to count stitches… The entitlement is real.

Don’t take it seriously

Those of us who are lucky enough to do our craft full or part-time as a job are in a great/dream position, but it’s still quite hard to get people to see what you do as a real job and source of income. Choice comment, “Oh, so you just sit at home and knit all day? Bloody hell…” Do one, mate.

So, what can we do with all of the above? The fact is that a lot of the problems listed are down to one thing: ignorance. If someone asks for a pattern for free they’re probably ignorant to how much work writing a pattern actually is. If a person laughs at your hobby they’re probably ignorant to how much of a valuable, rewarding and important activity is is. If someone steals your pattern… No, those people are just dicks.

Thanks to everyone who inspired this post (my Instafamily) and those of you who shared stories – both funny and horror – to be included in this post.

Article

Yarn Review · Hobbii Summer Cloud

This yarn was kindly gifted by Hobbii to review and as such is a sponsored post. However, my review is objective and honest.

Summer has almost ended, and here in Spain the leaves on the trees on our garden have even started to fall. I must say that it feels like an age since I last reviewed any yarns, so it’s been lovely to work with the wonderful people at Hobbii again and to try out their newest yarn, Summer Cloud! It’s a pretty, fluffy and sturdy cotton/acrylic yarn with a gorgeous halo and I’m excited to tell you all about it.

I have a wonderful pattern coming soon using this yarn. but for now let’s get to grips with this lovely soft bundle of squishiness. On first impression, this bulky yarn is bouncy, soft, light-yet-heavy and great quality. Even though this yarn is named after the Summer, it’s perfect for winter creations (as well as homeware) and works up quickly on a 6 mm (US 10) hook or needles. Its structure is interesting too, as on first glance it looks like a ‘blown’ yarn, but in fact it is high-quality acrylic yarn wrapped in a light cotton netting. This gives it an irresistible heathered look which looks beautiful and suits snuggly outerwear like hats and scarves.

Hobbii’s Summer Cloud is a gorgeous bulky yarn for all seasons.

Being a bulky yarn you can speed through projects rapidly, with sturdy results using the recommended needles. The only recommendation I would mention is thatas I am a tight knitter I would probably go up a needle size or two the next time I work with this yarn, just to add a little bit of extra drape.

Regarding the colours that are available (I chose Lemon and Butter Caramel), the selection is small but perfectly formed, with colours ranging from cheerful yellows to punchy reds and those ideal staples such as grey and black. Whatever colour you need for your project, you’ll be spoilt for choice with these timeless colours.

Just like the yarn, the ball band design is of a high quality, securely attached and with a clean design. One of my pet hates is dated and messy ball bands, so it’s so lovely to have elegant but simple packaging. Just look at that cloud ice cream – cute!

Overall, this will be my go-to mid-season yarn for all my cosy makes! I’ll definitely be getting my hands on some of their pinks and neutrals to work with, and experimenting with some cute hats and scarves.

Check back soon for some information regarding my newest pattern, designed using this wonderful yarn.

How To · Knitting pattern · Tutorial

Squidlet Newborn Sweater · Free Knitting Pattern

Knitting garments is one of my favourite things to do, but I sometimes get a bit put off by the hard work invoved! Aside from the actual time-consuming knitting part, working out the sizing and paying special attention to stitch count, gauge and all that jazz can really make me stress out. I told you I was a lazy knitter! However, when my bestie told me she was pregnant, I just new that I had to make something extra-special and unique, and the pattern for the Squidlet Newborn Sweater was born!

What I love most about this sweater – apart from it being cute and the colour palette – is that it’s very simple to knit, takes very little time and is wonderful for newbie knitters who want to expand their skills quickly. Plus it fits babies from newborn all the way up to six months, so it’ll last and last. What’s not to love? Feel free to adapt this pattern if you’re a more advanced knitter – you can leave out the stripes if you wish or make it longer at the body section – but this pattern will give you all the basics you need.

All measurements are approximate and will depend on your tension, but feel free to knit as many rounds as you like on the body section for a longer, more relaxed look. Why not make it into a sweater dress?

Above are all the measurements you need. It’s always a good idea to keep a tape measure with you (or a measuring app) to keep track of lengths and widths as you go. Nobody wants to unravel tentacle-like sleeves that you’ve got carried away knitting whilst bingeing on a series!

You will need:

  • 100g of white DK/Worsted/8 ply weight yarn, 15-20g each of four other DK weight yarns in different colours. I used a mixture of wool/acrylic and cotton/acrylic blend yarns for the stripes and a 100% acrylic yarn for the white sections. I recommend using 100% wool or a wool blend yarn for this project, only using cotton if it is blended with acrylic or wool.
  • A pair of 3.5mm & 5.00mm 16″ circular needles, a pair of 3.00mm & 4.00mm 9″ circular needles (or a long circular needle for the magic loop method or DPNs. Instructions are given for working with 9″ needles).
  • Four stitch markers, one in a different design or colour to indicate the beginning of the round.
  • A tape measure, scissors, a yarn needle, two 30cm scraps of waste yarn (the thinner the better).

Gauge: 19 stitches, 27 rounds to 10cm square.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced Beginner (See below for skills needed).

You will need to know:

The long-tail and ‘thumb’ cast on, Cast/bind off, simple Fair Isle (knitting with two colours), knit stitch, purl stitch, slipping stitches purlwise, kfb (knit front and back) increase, using circular needles, picking up stitches, changing colours, the invisible join in the round. It’s also a good idea to know how to steam block (if using acrylic yarn) or wet block for natural fibres.

Notes:

If you are not comfortable knitting Fair Isle, you don’t have to! Simply change colours the regular way instead of using the technique I have used. The result will be almost identical.

As this pattern uses more than one colour, the different colours are referred to as colour one (white), colour two (yellow), colour three (light pink), colour four (dark pink), and colour five (blue/green). These colours may differ on your project depending on the shades you have chosen, so it’s worth making a note of your colours before you start. This can avoid mess ups!

Remember it’s always better to cast on and bind off loosely. If you are a particularly tight knitter, consider casting on your stitches onto a needle one size bigger (so a 4.5mm needle in this case) and then slip the stitches onto the 3.5mm afterwards.

You don’t have block a finished sweater, but it makes it look 200x better. I always recommend doing it to add a great, neat finish that evens your stitches out. Steam blocking is recommended for man-made fibres, but remember to hold your iron at least 20cm away from the garment to avoid melting.

Method:

  • Cast on 55 stitches on the 3.5mm needles. Join using the invisible join method, leaving 54 stitches. Place a marker to indicate the beginning of your round.
  • knit one, purl one (1×1 rib) for four rounds, or for 2cm. This is the collar of your sweater.
  • Change to the 5.00mm needles by slipping all stitches purlwise.
  • Knit four rounds plain (knit every stitch around).

Now we’re going to place the markers that will indicate where we need to increase and form the raglan part of the sweater. Remember to use markers that are the same colour or style and different from your beginning of round marker.

  • From the beginning of the round, knit 11, place marker, knit 16, place marker, knit 11, place marker, knit 16 to end of round.
  • Change to colour two by knitting one stitch in colour one, one stitch colour two.

The next step will be known as your increase round (in bold). It will be referred to as your increase round from now on, so follow this step whenever you see ‘increase round’ in the pattern.

  • From beginning of round, kfb (knit into front and back of stitch), knit until two stitches before raglan marker, kfb, knit one, slip marker, kfb*, repeating this until your reach the beginning of round marker, This pattern will form your raglan increases. Knit one round plain.
  • Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
  • Change to colour three by knitting one stitch in colour two, one stitch in colour three.
    Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
    Change to colour four by knitting one stitch in colour three, one stitch in colour four.
    Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
    Change to colour three by knitting one stitch in colour four, one stitch in colour five.
    Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
    Change back to colour one by knitting one stitch in colour five, one stitch in colour one
  • You are now back to colour one and have worked 24 increase/raglan rounds. You should have 142 stitches on your needles, working out as 38 stitches on the body sections (front and back) and 33 stitches on the sleeve sections. Your raglan increases should measure approximately 11cm. If it doesn’t, no worries! Just work another round or so of increases separated by a plain knit round until it does. If your increases measure a bit more than 12cm that’s also fine, it’ll just mean that there will be a little extra growing room around the sleeves and that’s a good thing.

Now comes the trickiest bit: separating the sleeves. Here we go…

From the beginning of the round, slip the first 33 sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn and tie a knot. Cast on five stitches using the thumb method. Remove the raglan markers as you go, but keep the beginning of round marker in place. Knit across the next 38 body stitches, slip the next 33 sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn as before and tie a knot. Cast on five stitches and knit across the remaining 38 body stitches as you did previously. You should now be at the beginning of the round and have successfully separated the sleeves. Have a glass of wine at this point!

Now lets work the body section…

  • Knit every round plain (knit every stitch for 33 rounds. We’ve almost finished the body – woo!
  • Change back to your 3.5mm needles and knit one, purl one for five rounds. This is the hem.
  • Change back to the 5.00 mm needles by slipping every stitch purlwise (like we did at the collar) and bind/cast off loosely. Using a larger needle means that the hem will be slightly stretchier and less tight, great for slipping on and off a baby’s wriggling body!

We need to knit the sleeves now, so grab your 9″ 4.00mm needles and we shall carry on.

  • Slip all the 38 stitches held on the scrap yarn onto your 9″ needles (or onto longer needkes for magic loop, or DPNs) and knit across all the stitches.
  • When you reach the underarm section, pick up three stitches, place a stitch marker, pick up two stitches. You have no picked up and added the five stitches you cast on earlier. Knit until your sleeve measures 23cm from cast on edge (top of collar). Slip all stitches onto your 3.00mm 9″ needle and knit one, purl one every stitch for five rounds. Slip all stitches onto your 4.00mm 9″ needle once again and bind off.

Repeat the above section for the second sleeve.

To finish, sew up any holes on the underarm area of the sweater – don’t worry, this is normal when knitting raglan sweaters – and weave in all ends carefully and securely. I always follow this game-changing guide by Purlsoho when weaving in my ends.

And that’s your sweater. You’ve done it! Now to make 20 more of them…

I really hope you enjoyed this wordy pattern and found it useful! Don’t forget to tag me @emmaknitty of Instagram if you tried this sweater, and use the hashtag #squidletsweater to share your work.

Article · Yarn Reviews

Yarn Review · Hobbii Yarn Special

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Hobbii – Twister in Light Elegance (21)
YARN INFO: Weight: DK/Light Worsted – Needle/Hook: 3.0 mm (US 3) – 4.0 mm (US 6) – Composition: 50% cotton/50% acrylic– Ball Weight: 250 g (8.8 oz) – Yarn Length: 1000 m (1,094 yds) – Tension: 26 stitches, 36 rows to 10 cm/4″
Hobbii Rainbow 8/8 Organic Cotton in White (001)
YARN INFO: Weight: DK – Needle/Hook: 3.5 mm (US 4) – 4.0 mm (US 6) – Composition: 100% Organic Cotton – Ball Weight: 50 g (1.8 oz) – Yarn Length: 75 m (82 yds) – Tension: 20 stitches, 24 rows to 10 cm/4″

What springs to mind when you hear the word “Denmark”?

Cakes? Cold weather? Ham? Vikings? The Little Mermaid? Me, all of those, plus the stunning city of Copenhagen that I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago. Copenhagen is a beautiful place, full of characteristic, colourful buildings (check out Gammel Strand for some serious architecture envy and excellent bars), bicycles, friendly and happy people, plus some of nicest and well-kept parks I’ve ever seen… Sigh. We were tempted to relocate, actually, but it was a bit too expensive, so we shuffled off back to Spain, full of cake and €10 pints of ale, or øl.

This isn’t actually a tourism plug for Visit Denmark, but a couple of yarns reviews for my newest obsession, the Danish yarn brand Hobbii!

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Funnily enough, this lovely company is based in Copenhagen, and offer a superb variety of yarns for all tastes, most of which are completely natural or seriously high-quality blends. They also stock a huge array of accessories that will make any knitter or crocheter drool, plus an incredibly quick delivery time. My yarn took 3 days to arrive from Denmark to Spain, and that’s fast.

Hobbii very kindly sent me some yarn to try out, and given that the weather has been warm recently, I chose some organic cotton (Rainbow Cotton 8/8) and a very pretty cotton blend (Twister) that comes in a very generously-sized cake.

Let’s start with the organic cotton first. I’m a sucker for high-quality cotton, and these 50g balls really kick other cottons I’ve tried to the kerb; soft, durable, easy to work with and versatile, you don’t get that annoying ‘splitting’ of the plies like with some cottons on the market, plus the organic-ness (is this a word?) makes you feel good whilst crafting.

I used this cotton held double with Twister to add an almost heathered effect on the skirt of this little dress I designed to great effect.

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All in all, this will be my go-to cotton yarn from now on. I’m sold!

As for Twister, this was my first time using a yarn cake with variegated colours, so I was excited to choose this gorgeous colourway (Light Elegance 21), a feminine blend of greys, rose, burgundy, pink and light pink, ingeniously twined together for a smooth experience. I started using the cake by crocheting from the inside-out, which meant the bodice of the dress started with a stunning rose-burgundy shade, moving out to rose-burgundy-pink then to pink… Drool. If ombré is your thing, you’ll love this yarn. This yarn is a thin DK, but sturdy and soft. Even though it’s a blend, you cannot tell that there is any acrylic content – that’s the sign of a high quality yarn.

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Hobbii, you’re my new bestie!

The Positives:

  • Soft, high-quality yarns.
  • No knots in Rainbow 8/8, a few tiny but invisible knots in Twister. Good job.
  • Unbeatable value.
  • Awesome ball band designs.
  • Large colour palettes. Superb colour transitions.

The Negatives:

  • Literally none, and I always find a negative!

Are you a fellow indie-dyer or yarn brand who’d like me to review your yarns for free? Drop me a line and we can have a chinwag…

Knitting pattern · Tutorial

Knitting Pattern · Cloud Friends Hat

CFH1.png

Ahhh, Nothing gets you longing for Christmas, snow, chilly days and wintry walks like a cosy bobble hat. What’s even better than that is when they’re on everyone’s head, and that’s why I designed this chunky hat for both big and little kids! This adorable pattern is not only ideal for advanced beginners, but super quick to make – if you need a fast gift idea this is the one for you – and looks way more complicated that it actually is!

If you’re new to the world of knitting and are a bit bored of making endless scarves and potholders, this simple hat is perfect for expanding your skill set and exploring techniques such as Fair Isle knitting using a chart. I hope you enjoy working up this satisfying project and experimenting with colour to make your own Cloud Friends Hat!


Cloud Friends Hat

Level: Advanced Beginner

Sizing: Consult this guide for detailed sizing information.

Gauge: 8 stitches, 12 rows to 10cm/4″

You will need:

16″ 10.00mm & 9.00mm (US 14 & 15) circular needles, a stitch marker, scissors, a tapestry needle (ideally one with a collapsible eye), one and a half balls of Millamia Naturally Soft Super Chunky (100g in main colour, 50g in secondary colour), approx 20-50g of scrap chunky yarn for pom-pom (I used Katia Alaska in Off-White), XL pom-pom maker.

Skills:

Long-tail cast on, bind off, joining in the round using the gapless/invisible method, knit stitch, purl stitch, Fair Isle knitting using a chart, K2tog decrease, making a pom pom, seaming, weaving in ends.

Size: Child (4-6 years) Adult – Instructions for the adult size are given in italics and underlined.

Notes:

Worked from bottom to top, we’ll work a few rounds of 1×1 ribbing before continuing wuth a few rounds of stockinette (knitting every stitch) around. Then we shall work our Fair Isle design with colour two, start decreasing, seam and add our big pompom on top. When working Fair Isle, remember to keep your stitches fairly loose. It takes a while to perfect this technique, so if you’re new to it don’t worry if your stitches look less than even. Always remember to err on the side of loose tension, don’t pull too tightly, and use stitch markers to mark the beginning and ends of the chart on your work if it helps to keep tracks of where you are. Are you finding the adult sized hat a bit too snug? You can easily make the size bigger by adding 2+1 extra stitches when you cast on.

Chart (Four round, six stitch repeat):

fairislecloudbubble.png

In this case, pink is my main colour and blue the secondary one. Your colours will be different depending on the shades you choose, so do bear this in mind.

Method:

Cast on 37 (43) stitches onto the 9.00mm/US 14 circular needle and join using the invisible join method (36) (42). Place marker and pull the tail end to tighten.

Knit 1, purl 1* to end for six rounds.

Change to 10.00/US 15 circular needles and work eight rounds in stockinette stitch (knit every stitch).

Now, pick up your secondary colour yarn and start working the colours according to the chart.

TIP! If it helps, from the beginning of the round place a stitch marker every 6th stitch so you can keep track of where you are.

After this, knit in stockinette until the piece measures 7.”/18cm for kids size or 8.25″/21cm for adults.

For the next round, k2tog every stitch.

Knit one round plain.

Bind off all stitches, seam together by weaving the yarn under each stitch and pulling tight. Weave in ends securely.

Make a pom-pom and attach it by sewing both ends through either end of the seamed part of the top of the hat. Thread the yarn upwards up and through the centre of the pom-pom, trimming these ends to match the length of the pom-pom.

You’re done! Don’t forget to tag your projects with #Cloudfriendshat (Yes, I know this hashtags looks a bit dodgy) on Instagram so I can check out your lovely work!


This free pattern is ©emmaknitty 2018. It must not be copied, reproduced or sold. Do not claim it as your own.