Posts Tagged ‘freebies’

So, I’m currently working on drafting a simple sewing pattern for the knitting needle roll I’ve probably needed for about six months now, and would really appreciate the input of my fabulously stylish readers!  All five of you!

I’m currently waiting on a couple of FQ of this rather stunning fabric:

Yes, that’s hummingbirds on a pretty, blue background with what looks like little star-shaped microdots.

Now, I want some complimentary fabrics, so I’m thinking of spending my next bit of treat money on one of these FQ bundles:

Pretty gingham with contrasting red and blue, red microdots and a couple complimentary fabrics

Red and white polkadots and microdots with a blue strawberry-printed fabric to tie the blue hummingbird fabric in with it all

Lots of pretty blues with microdots and stripes and floral patterns, with pink contrasting elements.

A stronger focus on strawberries, with more blue than red, and some multicoloured microdots

A more grown up range of blue and white florals and microdots, to compliment the hummingbird fabric

Or I could say to hell with it, use the hummingbird FQs for something else and treat myself to one of these two bundles:

SKULLS!

Purple IS my favourite colour…

What does everyone think?  I have until Wednesday to decide, and whatever I do I’ll probably release a tutorial, make a second roll and maybe have a giveaway to let people win a roll for themselves.

Which fabric selection would you like to see the roll in?  What sort of selection would you like to WIN a knitting needle roll in?  Leave your answers in the comments!

Ravelry designer Tori Gurbisz recently released a gorgeous new cardigan pattern, the Thyone.

Like all of her clothing patterns, Thyone is available in straight and plus sizes.  Tori is one of my favourite designers – her shawls and sweaters combine classic shapes and simple, elegant designs with fun knitting elements and flattering lines.  And to celebrate the release of Thyone, Tori has released a voucher code giving 25% off her designs and ebooks!

Until 4th May, enter code MM2013 at checkout to get the discount off any of these!

I’m really enjoying researching the latest offerings for my next Ravelry Monday.  The only problem is, as I should have expected, there are too many to choose from!  Not just individual patterns, but themes.  This week has brought an explosion of shawls, socks, sweaters, hats, mitts and children’s clothes and I am finding it very hard to choose just one theme, knowing I’ll necessarily be disqualifying some beautiful patterns no matter which theme I choose.

To salve my pain just a little, I’m starting another weekly event.  Freebie Fridays.  So many of the patterns I’m falling in love with are not only beautiful but free!  And I feel particularly terrible disqualifying some patterns that are as good as many paid ones just because they fell into the wrong category.

Freebie Friday rules are a little different to Ravelry Monday rules, and are as follows:

  • The pattern needs to be free.
  • The pattern does not HAVE to be a Ravelry download, but must be listed on Ravelry.
  • The pattern must have a photo clearly showing the item.
  • The pattern still needs to produce a professional looking item and have the necessary information for potential makers.
  • Clothing for adults must still be available in plus sizes.
  • An item showcased on Freebie Friday may still be showcased on Ravelry Monday, if it fits the brief for that day.

So, without further faffing, here are my favourite free designs of the week!

Danielle Shawl Eng

Lovely lace pattern, with a bit of texture from the bobbles and a very attractive repeating leaf pattern that works as well in the border as the body.  A pattern I would gladly pay for, available as a free Ravelry download.

Worsted Merino Superwash Spring Beret

An attractive, slouchy beret with a lot of fun details in the pattern to keep things interesting, an attractive and unusual cabled twist on the brim, and the colour chosen for the sample grabbed my attention immediately.  This is not available as a download on Ravelry, but the Ravelry page includes a link to the free pattern.

Leafy Vs

This is a very pretty scarf, using a simple but effective lace design.  It looks light, and perfect for Spring, not too bulky on the next but with enough substance to keep the chill out.  The pattern is available as a free Ravelry download.

Remember Glasgow

A lovely, solid shawl in a light fingering weight, with attractive textural patterns.  The pattern will prevent it from being a boring knit, and breaks up the shape and bulk of the shawl nicely, while the use of a fingering yarn ensures that, although it’s solid and substantial enough to keep you warm, it won’t weigh you down.  Another pattern available as a free Ravelry download.

Pirate Cowl

Sometimes it isn’t so much the complete pattern but the inspiration that people want.  This cowl was a personal project by the designer, making use of free shareware colour knitting charts online to create an item for herself.  But what she made proved so popular with other knitters that she elected to share how she made it with the rest of us.  There isn’t a download, but there is a clear description of the construction involved and a link to the knitting chart she used for the skull and cross-bones design.  A lovely, wearable piece.

Things are going well with my shawl WIP.  I’ve started work on the lace portion, which will make up the rest of the shawl until I reach a point I’m happy to end at, and I have another couple of nifty little free tools to share with everyone.

As you know from my previous posts on the matter, I’ve been making careful use of shawl cheat sheets to ensure my project comes out the right shape and size.  This is fine for solid or colourwork shawls, but when it comes to incorporating a repeating lace pattern into work, things get a little more difficult.

Lace uses increases and decreases to create shape and attractive designs, but it only works if the increases and decreases cancel out, so the final shape isn’t altered.  In addition, a professional-looking shawl needs the lace pattern to start and end showing a full set of repeats, which means the lace pattern needs to fit neatly into the number of stitches you have.  Balancing these two issues can be tricky, but I’ve found even more tools that are very helpful.

The first is the KnitChart, an in-browser Java program that lets you create charted lace, cable or colourwork patterns and which tracks the increases and decreases in each row, so you can check to make sure they cancel out.  Be warned, the program is a little buggy – I sometimes have to load it a couple of times to get it to work – but it’s an invaluable tool for planning out lace designs.

And once you’ve figured out your lace pattern, the next essential tool I’ve been enjoying is the stitch pattern calculator, yet another fun freebie from the Laylock blog.  Once you have your lace pattern, simply count the number of stitches for a single repeat, count the total stitches on your shawl and plug them in.  If there is a discrepancy, not only will the pattern tell you how many stitches out you are for X number of repeats, but how many stitches to increase or decrease by for a perfect fit!

In case it isn’t clear that I have a tendency to faff, I’ve changed my mind yet again about what I want to make as my next knitting project, and am currently about 1/3 of the way through designing a shawl using my own pattern.

It’s surprisingly easy to create a shawl pattern once you get started, so long as you understand the basics of what goes into a shawl.  The shape of a shawl is made using one of several very simple patterns of increases at the centre and both edges.  Any other increases in the pattern are merely decorative and should be cancelled out by an equal number of decreases.

So, the best thing you can do is design a lace pattern to take place over a certain number of stitches, and make sure that a single repeat of the pattern contains a decrease for every increase.  After that, simply fit the design to the shawl itself.

Of course, the trick is to know what the basic increases you need are to achieve the shape of shawl you want.  Fortunately, the lovely people at Laylock have a free shawl cheat sheet available that provides the basic stitches for square, circular, triangular, semi-circular and heart-shaped shawls, and you can download it here.  Alternatively, if you want to knit a shawl in the round, there is this cheat sheet option.  A second, very handy freebie also provided by Laylock is this rather nifty knitting pattern paper, ideal for charting colour patterns, if you want to add a bit of brightness to your work.  I imagine it’d also work for charting lace, if used carefully.

Personally, I recommend keeping a copy of all three on your hard drive for use whenever you need them.

Once I’ve finished drafting my pattern I’ll put it up for sale on Ravelry.  But I’ll also post a tutorial here showing how I designed it!  Watch this space!