Category Archives: Knitting

Exciting News! I’m a Hiya Hiya Stockist!

About a month ago, I was approached by Hiya Hiya Europe regarding stocking their products. I wasn’t sure, so asked quite a few questions, which were cheerfully and quickly answered.

Hiya Hiya Booket

I had a good look at their catalogue, trying to decide if I should go for it or not. I had some unexpected expenses in September – my printer had to be replaced for one – and didn’t go ahead right away. I let them know I was interested but that I couldn’t order right away and they extended the introductory offer for me.

I ordered this week and it only took a couple of days to arrive. I got a retail pack, so a good assortment of Hiya Hiya bamboo,steel fixed and interchangeable needles and lots of accessories. The sheep needle gauges are especially cute!

I spent 3 days writing listings and editing photos and they are now live! Join me on my Facebook page – Looking Glass Designs to enter the Giveaway on the pinned post!

Sheep needle gauge
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Jumper by Commission

Sept. 3:

I don’t often make clothes – by clothes meaning jumpers/sweaters, cardigans, socks, that kind of thing. (Actually I’ve never made socks!) But I got an email from a local-ish lady wanting to know if I was able to knit her a jumper – extra large, plain and using a very thick yarn. Many more emails later, we met up to talk and to get measurements.

She had picked out a yarn (Rowan Cocoon in “Clay”) and was looking for a pattern. Usually it’s the other way round, but I managed to find a pattern – plain, big, and one that I could add her requirements to – a polo neck and long cuffs that she can turn up. She had bought the yarn, so gave me that and 50% of the agreed price. (The remaining amount is due when half the work is done).

I started on the jumper – bulky yarn and 6 & 7mm needles mean it knits up quickly, but when you have to frog…. not so much fun. I knit up the front to about 2/3 done after swatching, then washed and blocked it – even without pinning it out, just laying it on a clean towel, it stretched 3″. So I took 1″ off the front and back length and started again. The front and back got done fairly easily, then I sewed the right shoulder seam together and started in on the neck to get the polo part started.

The sleeves I also started – 6″ and a 4″ cuff to check that which length she wanted and part of the sleeve as well. We met up for her to try on the pinned together jumper front and back and see how long she wanted the polo neck and the cuff length. 6″ cuffs it is, then…. 🙂

I also checked her arm length, as the shoulder seams come down over the top of the shoulder onto the upper arm. She was very happy with the partly done jumper – it will definitely keep her warm; there is going to be about 800-850g of yarn in this jumper once done and it’s thick as well. I haven’t washed it yet, so it will grow a bit. The yarn is a single ply wool and will soak up water. I’m going to wash it carefully by hand once it’s finished and all sewn together so the seams can support it.

Sep 25:

I got busy and didn’t manage to get back to this post. The jumper is completed and is waiting to be picked up. I washed it once I sewed it together and it kept its shape well. I washed it in my bathtub, keeping it flat and making sure I didn’t wring, twist or agitate it so it didn’t go out of shape or felt.

I am happy with it, and I hope my customer is too!

Here’s the finished jumper:

Jumper
Close up
Cuffs
Front close-up

Chunky Wool Mini-blankets

I have finally managed to re-wallpaper my background board, it was looking a bit ratty. I had to wait until the weather got better- wet weather and wallpapering don’t mix very well. I used the same wallpaper, so no change there.

All 3 colours

The first things I photographed using it were these neutral chunky mini-blankets – I also moved where I take photographs, so hopefully the lighting will be better. These came out well, I had to adjust the white balance and exposure a little, but I usually do. These were knit using 15mm needles and super-chunky yarn. It felt like knitting with broom sticks and rope, after the 4mm needles and fingering yarn I’ve been knitting shawls with!

There are 3 colours – cream, grey and light brown. They are perfect for layering under a newborn or popping under a sitter. These are great photography props! Each one is available in my Etsy Shop. Which is your favourite colour? I think mine’s the grey…

Grey Mini-Blanket
Grey Garter Stitches
Cream Mini-blanket
Cream
Light Brown Mini-blanket
Light brown

Grey Lace Shawl in Wool – Custom Order

I’ve had this lace stole pattern knit up in a bamboo worsted weight yarn for several years, and the people who have bought them all love them – they are soft, squishy and warm. A bonus is that as they are grey, they go with almost anything.

Grey Lace Stole

I had a request from a bride in the US for 4 of them, but the yarn is discontinued, as I’ve posted before, and I don’t have enough left for 4. So I looked for another grey yarn, and found 2. One was an alpaca/merino blend and the other a wool/acrylic blend. The alpaca/merino was much thinner than the wool/acrylic, but I held it double and knitted up a small sample of each yarn in the pattern then took photos for my buyer-to-be. She picked one and I gave her a quote, with courier shipping and she bought them.

It took me about 6 weeks to knit them – the yarn is thinner than the old yarn, but there is more in the skeins, so the pattern got adjusted slightly to make sure it was as wide as she wanted them to be.

These stoles are approx. 19″ wide and 84″ long – considerably longer than the old stole, but as they are finer, they are the same weight and don’t feel too long when you wear one.

The buyer loved them and couldn’t wait to give them to her bridesmaids! I love it when I get an email from a happy buyer!

She wrote: “I got the Shawls today, they’re lovely!!! I love them & cant wait to give them as a gift to my bridesmaids! Thank you so much for all of you help.
I’ll have to try and remember to send you a picture from our wedding this September with the girls wearing them :-)”

Here they are, and the new stole will be in my Etsy Shop shortly!

Wool Blend Grey Lace Stole

Wide Grey Lace Stole
At the back
Pinned at the Front
Pinned at the shoulder
As a scarf

Rainbow Mini-blankets

I found a rainbow yarn online recently and bought some to knit up for mini-blankets. It’s a wool blend yarn, from the burn tests I did, and it knits up as a fingering weight yarn. There were 2 colourways, so I bought both. Neither are a ‘ROYGBIV’ rainbow yarn; the colours mostly knit up that way, but not always, as you can see from the photos. The colours are very blended; there’s no way I could cut and split the yarn so it kept to the traditional rainbow line-up. I still can’t decide which one I like better!

I knit the blankets on my knitting machine, then washed and blocked them. There isn’t a lot of roll because I knit them using every other row, which gave enough yarn to adjust the tension so that they can lie flatter. These are perfect for any newborn photo shoots, not just for rainbow babies!

I offer them in my Etsy Shop with and without a cream wool fluff; which would you choose? You can find the bright rainbow mini-blanket here and the rainbow mini-blanket here.

Bright Rainbow 1
Bright Rainbow 2
Bright Rainbow 3
Bright Rainbow 4
Rainbow 1
Rainbow 2
Rainbow 3
Rainbow 4

Navy Blue Shawlette – Burn Shawlette

I recently knitted my first lace shawlette – well, it’s really a lace and cable shawlette. I used an Ice Yarns Cashmere Silk DK weight yarn (sorry, it’s discontinued) in a lovely navy. It was gorgeously soft and easy to work with – but some of the colour did come out when I washed it – both times.

Navy Blue Shawlette

I actually knitted this twice as the first time, the cast on row was too tight to block properly, while the cast off was too loose. The 2nd time they were more evenly knitted and it blocked out much better.

I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to keep it or sell it, but I’ll let you know! The pattern is well-written and easy to follow, I used the chart to knit the cable & lace section. I will definitely make this one again!

You can find the pattern on Ravelry – Burn

Being Blocked
Close up of Lace & Cable section
Ta Dah! Finished
Finished Cable & Lace section
More lace.
Wrapped up like a scarf
Close up.
The back.

Decisions, Decisions

Decisions, Decisions….

I’ve been offering this Grey Lace Stole almost since I opened my shop on Etsy and it’s been a decent seller for me. The yarn is now discontinued and I have to decide whether to source another yarn for the pattern or find a different yarn and pattern combo to offer. I have enough yarn left for 1 more stole.

Grey Lace Stole

I base what I offer for sale on several things; what yarn I can get and what I want to make to sell in my shop are two. I have tended to go for thicker/chunkier yarns as they knit up faster, and how long something takes to make is a factor in whether or not I’ll make it to sell.

Some knit/crochet items I find don’t sell well, and I sell a few then stop listing it, other items sell very well only at certain times of the year. (My Herringbone Handwarmers come to mind here!)

Herringbone Handwarmers

I prefer to use natural fibres and blends and not just 100% acrylic – they tend to be nicer to knit with, and can last longer without pilling. As I now have a knitting machine, I’m hoping to offer items using finer luxury yarns and bigger items such as larger lace stoles and wraps. I have to master the machine first!

I don’t tend to jump on trends like the ‘pussy hats’ or the polo neck rectangular ponchos with cables and large buttons for toddlers, I am careful about ending up with (more) yarns and materials that I won’t use if they don’t sell.

I did think this Girl’s Spring Poncho/Capelette would sell, but while the pattern does, the actual item doesn’t.

Girl’s Spring Capelette

And back to the original question – to find a new yarn for this pattern? Hmmmm…. I’ll have to let you know.

Grey Buttoned Cable Cowl

I finally managed to get decent photos of this warm and cosy cabled cowl – the weather hasn’t been very co-operative lately. This a lovely grey cowl made from a worsted weight acrylic yarn. The buttons add a pop of colour and you can do up all 3 or not as the mood takes you. It’s listed now in my etsy shop here

Grey Cabled Cowl
Grey Cabled Cowl
Closeup
Closeup

img_0373

img_0375

If you’d like this cowl in another colour, let me know!

Yarn, yarn and more yarn!

I really do have to talk more about my yarn webstore – great yarns at even better prices! Some of my patterns like the Waves Cowl, use yarn from my yarn website – this gorgeous Bamboo Classic – and some of it is on for as little as 77p each skein right now! The cream is currently out of stock, but the grey is gorgeous!

Waves Cowl
Waves Cowl
Doubled up Cowl
Doubled up Cowl

There are lots and lots of yarns – ladder, eyelash, mohair, alpaca, cotton… too many to list. There are basic yarns – acrylic, baby yarn, wool blends as well as luxurious yarns that would make the most gorgeous jumper/sweater, shawl or cardigan.

Cotton Blend yarn
Cotton Blend yarn
Mohair Yarn
Mohair Yarn

There are new yarns coming out every week – I want to try out this new cotton ribbon yarn, it looks like it will knit up very quickly! And even better, it’s 100% recycled too!

Pink Cotton Ribbon Yarn
Pink Cotton Ribbon Yarn

Soft Grey Cowl

Here’s my latest cowl.

All buttoned up ©Looking Glass Designs
All buttoned up ©Looking Glass Designs

It’s small, soft and cosy with some lovely black & grey buttons. I knit it in a new pattern with a 100% wool Italian yarn called Regina by Adriafil. It’s a lovely, fine and soft wool yarn in a very pretty grey (I seem to gravitate towards greys for some reason!)

Just over the shoulders
Just over the shoulders ©Looking Glass Designs

I really like this cowl – perfect to fit under a coat collar, not bulky but I’m sure it’s very warm. You could also pop it on top of a loose collared jumper or sweater, or even a T-shirt. It would even scrunch up into a pocket and still look great when pulled back out again.

What would you pair it with?

2 Buttons
2 Buttons ©Looking Glass Designs