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What An Exhibition!!

Hello and welcome to a special blog, which is a virtual exhibition of blankets knitted around Yorkshire and the world during our 2020 Christmas Eve Blanket Knit-a-long.

I have written about this project before so you can read about how it all happened here, here & here.

My desire for this project was that it would appeal to, and be enjoyable for, a range of knitters from the new & inexperienced, who might be lacking in confidence, to the prolific lifelong knitter who is looking for a challenge.

The knit-a-long started on 15th August 2020 with the aim of finishing for Christmas Eve (or not!).

The final pattern for square number 20 was sent out on Monday 7th December and the finished blankets began to appear on Facebook almost immediately. Some knitters even made more than one blanket!!

We would have loved it if we could have all gathered together to admire each others work, but that was not going to happen, so we have created this exhibition instead for anyone to enjoy.

Knitters have kindly given me photos of their work and written a little about the experience of taking part.

Come on in and have a look around…

All done but for a few ends to sew in. I’m going to put a fleece backing on mine to make it extra snuggly and it’ll make it look tidier on the back too.

I have enjoyed the experience very much and learned a few new stitches. Some I liked more than others but all good practice. I’ve adapted a few of the squares and used up old yarn from stock so lots of positives.

Thanks,

Brenda

Really enjoyed making Xmas blanket, the kit was a surprise gift sent to me by my daughter. 

Janet

To me it is so much more than a blanket for Christmas, but it’s a reminder of 2020 and the positives that came from such a difficult year. On my Facebook page I am sharing it as an advent “calendar”, one part each day, with a short reflection on each design. The completed blanket picture of course will be saved for Christmas Eve!


It was great be part of a friendly  group on Facebook making it a proper Knitalong together, seeing each other’s progress. I’ve missed being able to attend workshops in 2020 and this has filled a gap. 
As an experience knitter I liked that I could add little extras to the blanket without  deviating too much from the original design. I love the finished result so much and I am most definitely keeping it for myself, to be used throughout the year and not just at Christmas!


Thank you so much Judith and team. Have a lovely Christmas and here’s hoping for a better year in 2021.
Best Wishes, Jo xx

Here is my finished blanket. 


I have learnt a lot, how to follow a graph pattern, fair isle and intarsia. Why it’s important to block your work. 

Think there was really only 1 square that I didn’t like and that was the one with bobbles on it. 

It’s been an interesting journey and I look forward to the next project. 


Many thanks

Alison x

Thanks Judith


What a fab experience this has been.

Before I started I was a very basic knitter, and now I feel so much more accomplished.

Judiths videos were a fantastic way for me to learn.

There are quite a few mistakes in my blanket but I am seeing them as part of the learning process and as in life is so much more realistic to accept our imperfections!I

highly recommend this project.

Rosy


Thanks for designing such a beautiful blanket to knit. I am so pleased with it. Lots of feedback on how beautiful it is.

First time I have joined a KAL and loved the support and encouragement from fellow knitters.

I also learnt that I wasn’t the only one who occasionally struggled and went wrong. It was also nice to help less experienced fellow knitters. I have been knitting for 40 years! 


Can’t pick a favourite square as I love so many. Only one I am not so keen on is the advent rings, it’s hard to decipher what it is meant to be.

I would do another KAL but not a blanket, something different. It also helped to get through lockdown!

Sue

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing this and learned so much!
Thank you xxx

Debbie J

Yay, my Christmas Eve Blanket is finished and I’m feeling a bit bereft! Really, really enjoyed this project although one or two of the squares tested my abilities and my concentration! My favourite squares were the Twinkling Star, the Fairy in the Heart and the Snowflake although I did enjoy the cable squares even though the Heart Cable caused me a bit of angst! I’ve learnt so much and will no longer fear colour work. I’ve also learnt more about tension and how different stitches can affect it.

I couldn’t have completed this project, Judith, with your help and videos. Thanks for all your hard work in getting this project to fruition. Onwards and upwards to the next one!

Now going to snuggle up by the fire wrapped in my blanket (even though we’re a week away from Christmas Eve), finish off Santa’s sherry and mince pie and probably fall asleep!! 

Love Jill

From a chance glance in your shop window in Thirsk to a lovely way to spend the lockdown. Thank you so much for sharing your talents.

Maureen

I loved the project and the support on FB. The blankets are for my 2 grown up children and I am very excited to give them to them at Christmas. Thank you for your design and inspiration and I look forward to another project maybe next year. 
Sarah

I am really enjoying knitting my blanket. I had no intention of finishing it for this Christmas so am not worried that I have only knitted 7 squares! 

I have realised that although I quite like colourwork it is the cabling that I prefer. I have had the confidence to branch out and am currently trying a Celtic Knot square. 
I love the variety of having a different pattern for every square. It is also satisfying to be able to finish a square fairly quickl

Thank you for designing such a lovely blanket. Your videos were superb and the patterns very clear too. Learning about and trying blocking was a revelation! 
Claire

“ This project couldn’t have come at a better time in 2020.  Originally I had only thought about doing the textured pattern squares just using the striped wool as a blanket for myself ( a work in progress – 14 squares still to do ) but then decided to challenge myself to do the blanket as a Christmas present for my sister so it had to be finished for a deadline!!  It also forced me to learn some new knitting techniques which I otherwise would have missed out on .

I didn’t think that I would reach a point where I was waiting in anticipation for the next e-mail to arrive so that a new square could be started but I did – and I quickly learned that if I followed the instructions , that is – watched the instruction videos first,  followed the pattern to the letter,  that it would turn out ok. 

Thank you Judith for the huge personal and often unseen effort that you invested in this project to get it off the ground which has kept many hands and minds occupied over the last few months.”

Vanessa

I’m so happy I’ve finished this blanket.

When we started I was so nervous as I learned to knit and purl when I was a brownie and I’ve never progressed beyond a scarf.

Thank you Judith for your encouragement and telling me about the rescue rows that saved many a square.

Julie

So so proud of myself. Although there are plenty of mistakes and one square I couldn’t do it’s such an achievement for me.

I’ve learnt new stuff and my colour work skills are so much better and I’m so much faster.

Absolutely love my blanket so thanks to you and the gang for putting in the hard work for us to be able to do it. Merry Christmas 🎄🎄🎄

Shan

Hi Judith, have so enjoyed this challenge.

I have been knitting for thirty years but I still learnt a lot in the last few weeks.

My favourite was the first star we did so I did it twice. Hope to give it to my mother in law for Christmas. Thanks for all your effort.


Frances

I have really enjoyed being a part of this project.

One or two squares proved more difficult than they should have been but I wasn’t defeated.

Thank you Judith for all your help. Merry Christmas everyone 🎄🎄

Linda

The Christmas Eve Blanket… what a brilliant little project!

I have really enjoyed seeing my blanket gradually come to life. I had only seen it in pictures and videos before starting and I haven’t been disappointed.

The patterns and charts were clear and easy to follow and the accompanying videos were down to earth tutorials explaining the trickier parts of each square as well as other useful tips and instructions on blocking, sewing in ends, the use of stitch markers etc. Being a self-taught knitter, I think I picked up something new every week to improve my knitting skills. I have learnt new stitches and definitely improved my Fair Isle technique which has all been very satisfying.

The squares were varied and just the right size to be a challenge which left me eagerly waiting for the next pattern when each square was completed!

Being part of the Facebook group added another dimension. I found it fascinating to think that lots of other people I didn’t know, in lots of different places were working on the same project as me. I loved seeing the other color choices, ideas and progress as we went along.

My blanket is now ready to snuggle under and I feel ready to take everything I have learnt to move onto other projects with added confidence.

Thank you so much to Judith @Needlecase for all the work that you put into creating the project and making it work so well. Knitting has lots of positive benefits and it has been perfect for this very unusual year!

Mel

Sadly, I am yet to finish my blanket.. hoping it will be done by the end of the Christmas break!!

Currently on square 13, so not too bad – it’s been difficult finding time to knit too much after an exhausting day working and looking after my mum, getting her to hospital appointments etc.

I have (and still am) enjoyed the project, it has given me something very different to focus my attention and I have learnt so much.

Thankyou so much for your hard work in putting the project together for us all to enjoy.

Sara xx

I did it!!  So pleased with myself learning the new stitches and replicating your beautiful design.  


This project has been great fun and came just in time to boost us during a pretty rough year. Waiting for the pattern to come through each week gave us all something to look forward to and a task to complete to keep us busy during Tier 3 restrictions and the 2nd lockdown!  

I’m pleased as punch with myself for mastering (most) new stitches and doing colourwork for the first time.  I managed most of the colourwork although I will admit cheating with the deer heads and “f” in family!  I think I prefer the different stitches to colours!


Thank you so much for all your effort preparing everything for us and for being at the end of an email of Facebook message when we had problems. I have thoroughly enjoyed completing my blanket and am very pleased with the final result. I think I have enough of my rainbow colour to add a narrow border to finish off.


Thanks again and have a fabulous Christmas!

Kate x

Merry Christmas Judith thank you for all your hard work making this project happen I have so enjoyed it all and have saved the most difficult square (I think😊) till last really hope to get my blanket finished in the new year and look forward to any project you can put together for us all ❤️

Pat

Good morning I have attached some photos (above) of the blankets that I made for my sister and 2 nephews and her post on Facebook upon receiving them I have thoroughly enjoyed this project – I have learnt lots of new skills for example I had not previously done any cable work and my colleagues at work have enjoyed their daily updates in progress! 

The boys are so pleased with their Christmas blankets and have said they will be their best presents! Refreshing considering both love their game consoles! I have a feeling I will be making more next year.

Vicky

Dear Judith, here is a photo of my finished blanket.

Not perfect by any means but as a whole not too bad.  I feel I’ve learnt a lot as I’m not an expert knitter.

Struggled mainly with the colour work squares although these did become easier with practice.  Tension was the other big problem. Afraid my squares are definitely not all uniformly the same size.

My favourite squares were the cable knits which I feel have turned out quite well. It’s been a great escape in these lockdown days and I’d love to take part in another one. It’s definitely been a challenge and overall I feel pleased with the achievement despite the mistakes.

Thank you so much.  Happy Christmas and a healthy 2021.  

 Lesley

Here’s my photo!

As you can see I have been going really slowly – only because I never seemed to find time to sit down and do the knitting!

I am enjoying it so much though, and have learnt loads.  Also as further lockdowns loom, I’m sure I’ll have lots of time in the New Year to carry on.

I have actually also completed Square 5 and half of Square 8, but thought the first row looked nicer at this stage.

I pop into Knitting Pretty (where I got the kit from Di) when I can.

Thank you very much for all the effort that evidently went into producing the kit, and I hope that by next Xmas my completed blanket can finally go on my guest bedroom bed!Seasons Greetings and kind regards,

Jane

So so close but need to stop now and get Christmas organised also a new puppy to toilet train !! 


Maybe over Christmas I can complete the last square and finish sewing up . 
I have enjoyed learning new techniques, struggled with varying tension, and enjoyed the Facebook sharing and chat . 


Thanks Judith
Karen 😁

Here is my completed blanket. I loved the project and would get excited as each new pattern arrived.
Thank you.
Heather 

Finished in the nick of time! We won’t talk about the second one which still needs another 16 squares!

Debbie D

Tension is clearly something I need to work on as some are clearly squarer than others but thoroughly enjoyed this whole experience.

All the more pleased as it was a chance trip to Thirsk in August that kicked it off. I live in Cambridgeshire so would never have known about it otherwise. If I placed all my twisted heart attempts together, they would have made a blanket all their own! That was a tough one finally finished aloe in a room with no music or tv for maximum concentration.

Favourite visually was the last snowflakes one closely followed by Rudolph heads.

This is a Christmas gift but I can hardly bring myself to part with it so the only answer is to do another one! It has been much admired by friends and family who have watched its progress from that first square and I will miss the excitement of checking for my e-mail each week.

We never met in person but the enthusiasm of this Facebook group and weekly videos was a great substitute and it felt like we actually did.

Mhairi

Finished Blanket

Well not quite, but soon!!


One more square to finish and then an edging. I’m very happy with my work and loved the experience of my first knit along project.

Favourites are the textured squares – cables, cable hearts, puff stitch particularly and favourite visual one is the dancing star and variegated snowflakes.
I have been knitting since I was 7, taught by mum who was such a keen and fantastic needlewoman. But I have learnt new techniques through this and other ways to do things that I think mum didn’t need to know about. She passed away earlier this year and the blanket is for me in memory of her.

She lost virtually all her sight through macular degeneration over the last 8 years and it was her greatest sadness that she couldn’t knit, quilt or embroider any longer. But I did help her to knit a small blanket for her great grandchildren as they started arriving in 2015.

My three children treasure those, unevenness and dodgy sewing up included and won’t hear of any repairs. She would have loved the feel of this blanket and what little she could have seen through faded peripheral vision.

Judith, thank you for putting this together it has given me great focus over the last couple of months x

Liz

Below is an update from Liz

I have finally finished by blanket, complete with a double crochet border
Thought you might like an updated picture

January 2021

This one turned into a team effort as Liz , Johanna and Sharon helped Ros out with the last 5 squares.

Allowing her to finish it in time to go into quarantine for her Mum, Lena who is in an older persons home.

What excellent friends!!!

Thank you. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Clare

I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful project.

I have to admit I initially dithered about whether or not to undertake the project as I alway have so many projects on the go !

However I took the plunge and went to see Diane at Knitting Pretty and ordered the kit.

I really enjoyed receiving the emails and completing each square as well as looking forward to certain ones, in particular the ‘family’ and the ‘house 2020’ square.

I feel my confidence with fair isle has increased and I’ll definitely be doing more of this. I already have plans to make cushions from some of the square patterns too.

The finished blanket has been much admired by family and friends and it will be treasured for years to come.

Thank you also for the Facebook group which I enjoyed being a part of and found the posts from other members to be encouraging and inspiring.

I’ve already signed up for the Brioche knitting course in January.

Many thanks again

Sue O

I am totally blown away with the number of people who have chosen to take part in this.

I will update this blog as the finished blanket updates come in, which I’m sure they will throughout 2021.

Hope to keep knitting with you all in the future 🙂

And here they are…

Nearly finished it in 2020! 

This is the first time I have taken on a challenge like this and I have learned lots of new techniques and enjoyed the process.

Congratulations, Judith, on thinking of ten each texture squares and colourwork squares on a Christmas theme.

It has been great following how others progressed along, and when I struggled to know I was not alone! 

Dot

January 2021

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2-Colour Brioche Knitting Online Workshop

My first online knitting workshop will be live on Wednesday 6th January 2021.

Kits are available from my website ,or at Knitting Pretty and Ewe and Yarn from Tuesday 7th December 2020.

The workshop is designed to recreate as closely as possible the experience of attending the usual in-person workshop day.

Brioche knitting in 2 colours creates an amazing, reversible fabric which is absolutely ideal for scarves, cowls, shawls etc. By creating movement in the lines of the brioche rib we reveal fascinating patterns and designs which are incredibly satisfying.

You will need to be an adventurous OR confident and experienced knitter to tackle this technique, but it is well worth the effort when you see the results which can be achieved.

Watch the following video where I will show you some finished pieces and tell you more!

In this workshop we will look at the skills needed to get going with 2-colour brioche knitting and practise the increasing and decreasing stitches used to produce the elegant waves and designs which will be a real wow factor in your finished piece.

Here I am again explaining what you will learn in the workshop.

This is how it will work.

You will download a pdf from the website which will give instructions on how to create the practise pieces. The pdf will also include a link to online tutorials where I will show you how to carry out the techniques and you can work through them alongside me.

You will be able to choose a kit to create your own brioche cowl and have a new and exciting project to finish at your own pace.

You will need some double pointed or circular knitting needles.

For the cowl project you’ll require 5mm circular needle OR long dpn’s.

The kit will include 2 skeins of West Yorkshire Spinners aran yarn plus pdf of instructions for the practise pieces and the pattern to make your cowl.

Before you go I have made a final video looking at choosing colour for your cowl.

It is important to me that you get the most out of my workshops and feel like you can come to me for help if you need it, so I am setting up a special page on Facebook, which you will be invited to join when you buy the workshop.

Members will be able to use this page to support & encourage each other plus seeking guidance from me where needed.

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The Further Adventures of Chardonnay

Hello there.

Just taking a break from working on my up-coming knit-a-long to update you on the adventures of Chardonnay the sheep.

Chardonnays yarncrawl, which took her from Knaresborough to Harrogate and then on to Thirsk, has had to be interrupted for obvious reasons.

She’s been in for some repairs as described by Knitting Pretty’s owner Di Watson…

‘Recently we’ve had to shear her original pompoms and they grew back in a rainbow 🤷‍♀️ 

Her latest hat is fashioned from the top layer of Harry and Meghan’s wedding cake, made by Lynsey Gallant

( Chardonnay is all about re-using and eco-friendly)’

I popped in to see Chardonnay last week and I have to say I was impressed with her new look. She is sporting the very latest fashion for 2020 , the Rainbow & the face mask! As Di explains:

‘These lovely face masks have been beautifully made by Cath. They’re lined too! Great quality at £5 each-all of which goes to Martin House Children’s Hospice.’

I think Chardonnay’s is just perfect !

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2020 Knit-a-Long

Let me introduce to you my finished Christmas Eve Blanket…

I talked about how I came to be knitting a Christmas project in the summertime in my previous blog.

I have completed the design and the patterns are now being test-knitted by Sharon at Ewe and Yarn and Di at Knitting Pretty.

I am also knitting another sample so we will soon have 4 versions of the blanket in 4 different colourways.

The design aims to be flexible, so that you can mix and match the patterns, should you wish to not do some of the squares and create more versions of other squares instead.

I said that we were going to have a knit-a-long and that I was trying to find a way that I could incorporate some small workshops.

We launched the knit-a-long a few weeks ago and it is scheduled to begin on the 15th August with those taking part receiving patterns to download every 6 days until December.

Alongside the patterns I am making tutorial-style videos so that, even if you are not a confident knitter, it will still be possible to try out all of the techniques showcased in this design.

I will set up a special Facebook page for everyone to share their progress and ask any questions so that we can still be knitting along together, even though we are apart.

There is much excitement brewing now for the Christmas Eve Blanket knit-a-long and we are already fully international with people taking part from our local area but also from New Zealand and Switzerland.

If you are interested in joining us, you can purchase a kit from myself or from either Knitting Pretty or Ewe and Yarn.

I’ll be back soon with another blog to show you how our different coloured blankets are working out.

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Chardonnay in Harrogate

Hello from a sunny Yorkshire!

Last month I introduced you to Chardonnay and told you about the plans for this colourful Pom Pom Sheep to have her own yarncrawl which I’m very keen to follow.

This meant that yesterday I got to visit the lovely little shop Yarn Etc in Harrogate.

 

It’s a welcoming and colourful oasis just outside the town centre and it was very nice to meet and chat with Fiona who’s been hosting Chardonnay for the last few weeks.

Fiona tells me that Chardonnay has been very well admired, especially when she spent time sitting in the shop window where she could easily be spotted by passengers travelling past on the bus!

Yarn Etc is a busy little shop which hosts a popular knit and natter session on Monday evenings in addition to a varied programme of workshops. They also have a book club starting up which you can find out more about here

Many customers have been getting involved knitting poppies to display for Remembrance Day throughout the town and Fiona is hoping that next year they’ll have lots more for an even bigger display.

I enjoyed a good look around whilst I was there and I may have made a considered purchase or two.

Here is a flavour of what is on offer.

 

Chardonnay will be moving on to Thirsk very soon but before that she will be taking a little tour of the sights around Harrogate.

I can’t wait to see what she gets up to!!

 

 

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Chardonnays Yarn Crawl

Let me introduce you to Chardonnay.

Chardonnay is a sheep!! She’s a little bit of a diva, and she lives in the window of an amazing little yarn shop, Knitting Pretty in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.

Chardonnay was created by Kt Arthur, Sarah Johnson and Kerry Young as part of a window display in Knitting Pretty for the FEVA festival 2019 (Festival of Entertainment and Visual Arts). The display won the window competition (the 4th time the store has won this)

Sarah Johnson

Sarah tells me that she made the structure for a sheep which was originally used in the 2019 Great Knaresborough Bed Race, the ladies then re-purposed her for the FEVA window display.

Diane Watson, the owner of Knitting Pretty says

‘Knaresborough is a very friendly town, it has the world famous Bed Race in June, the FEVA festival in August – where the town goes pink – and Bright Friday in November when children carry lanterns from the castle to the market square ready for the start of the traditional Christmas market over the Saturday and Sunday. We have some fabulous independent shops as seen recently in the York Press

Knitting Pretty are stockists of Rowan, West Yorkshire Spinners, Adriafil, King Cole, Opal, Stylecraft, Clover, Knit Pro and so much more.

The store supports Martin House Children’s Hospice and to date have raised over £1ooo for them.

Knitting Pretty really is so much more than just a yarn shop.

Currently Diane’s community of knitters are making poppies for British Legion 100th anniversary in 2021, with the aim to have a breathtaking display at Knaresborough Castle. Knitting groups take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I provide knitting workshops on several Saturdays throughout the year. It is always a fun day and a pleasure to be part of this fantastic enterprise.

Back the star of this blog Chardonnay…

Chardonnay is going on a yarn shop tour #chardonnaysyarncrawl where she will spend time in various yarn shops and hopefully get to know more about them and the towns they serve.

To kick this off, Diane and I took her on a tour of the town of Knaresborough. Thanks to the local green grocer for the loan of the sack trolley (Chardonnay is far too much of a star to actually walk around town).

We all had a fabulous time and Chardonnay certainly attracted a lot of attention. Everyone who saw her loved her and wanted to hug her and photograph her.

We started off in the market square where Chardonnay met Mother Shipton and Blind Jack.

Then it was a trip to the castle which was unfortunately closed but we all enjoyed the views!

Next, no visit to Knaresborough can be complete without including England’s oldest tourist attraction Mother Shipton’s Cave.

On the way there it made a nice change to admire some of the unique trompe l’oeil windows that are all over the town, and some more sheep 🙂

The people at Mother Shipton’s were amused to see Chardonnay. She brings colour and joy wherever she goes.

She would have loved a boat ride but it wasn’t possible due to high river levels.

However, Blenkhorn’s Boats were very obliging and allowed her to get onboard. Look how excited she was!!

That was enough excitement for one Saturday morning in October, and Di and I were getting a bit warm with wheeling Chardonnay around, so we headed back to Knitting Pretty.

There could be a whole other blog about this charming little shop and all the quirky little details, there’s something different to spot every time you go and they all have their own stories. Here is just a little taste …

 

 

The final photo is some yarn which had to come home with me.

This yarn is hand dyed locally in Knaresborough, and there is even a special colour called Knitting Pretty specially created for Diane. I have some ideas in my head for designing something special to knit with this beautiful bundle.

 

 

 

So what’s next for Chardonnay? The plan is that she will head off to Harrogate to spend some time at Yarn Etc, after that a visit to Sharon at Ewe and Yarn in Thirsk is on the cards. I’m sure it won’t end there, we need to get Chardonnay to visit as many yarn shops as we can.

I hope to follow her around on her travels and write about it here.

She will also be using the hashtags #chardonnaysyarncrawl and #chardonnayontour on instagram.

Give her a wave if you spot her she’s always happy to meet new fans!!!

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Changes for Chains and Stripes

This blog was originally written in April 2015 but I wanted to re-visit it as I have recently added these knitting kits to my website having not had them on there for a while, so here is the story of my Chain Stripe Cushion knitting kits…

 

Today I’ve been finishing off something I started back in September!
IMG_0177After our annual visit to Cawood Craft Festival I realised that my original version of one of my knitting kits could do with a bit of updating. I designed this cushion some time ago now and we talked about it on the blog back in the summer of 2013.

When I had the idea for the cushion we had just started selling West Yorkshire Spinners yarns and I really wanted to make something which would show off the natural colours of the wool from Jacob sheep which they produce. I had been playing with the chain stripe stitch when knitting samples for my City and Guilds course and I felt that it was an ideal choice. I designed this little cushion, which can be knitted in a number of variations using the 4 natural colours available Ecru, Light Grey, Mid-Grey and Brown.

I don’t like having to insert zips and I really like these cocoanut shell buttons so I used this simple construction for the cushion. One long piece is knitted, folded and side seams sewn up, finally attaching the beautiful buttons which are included in the kit. I am very happy with the way the cushion looks, I love the Jacob wool which is ideal for home wares and many people have bought the kits and given positive feedback.

Why did I feel the need to improve the pattern then? Sitting in a tent in a field in North Yorkshire, I realised that, if I was designing the cushion today I would have made the stripes match up all the way round the cushion, and they just didn’t. It bothered me so much that I just couldn’t forget about it and I took one of my sample cushions and actually unravelled the cushion, re-knitting it to my new specifications. I have now knitted 3 samples in all of the new cushion and I am happy to say that the stripes match up beautifully all the way round except for where the rib occurs for attaching the lovely buttons which I don’t mind.
IMG_0770I have replaced the old  patterns in the kits and will re-vamp the packaging when I make some more and I now feel very satisfied with my little cushions again.

The kits contain all the wool you need to knit a cushion, plus the pattern and 3 buttons. You can buy them  online.

As I explain on the website, this kit makes a great gift for a knitter friend and the pattern is easy to follow for those who have not knitted for a while, or who are just learning but interesting enough for those with more experience to appreciate it

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Why Learn to Knit?

To many people this may sound like a silly question! All the same I thought it was worth thinking about it.

If you’ve been taught a skill such as knitting, crochet or sewing at an early age then it can seem like the most natural thing in the world. If you’re not that fortunate then you may be thinking ‘I love making things for myself or as unique gifts and I’d like to learn a new craft so why would I choose knitting?’

I believe that knitting can be a relaxing hobby (maybe not so much at the first steps, but certainly when you get the hang of it) which engages the mind and fires creativity. There is always something new to learn or try if you wish to push yourself, on the other hand, some really easy straightforward knitting can be just the tonic when you’re feeling tired and stressed. You have the brilliant satisfaction of being able to spend your relaxation time productively with a beautiful finished item to be proud of as the end result.

Most people seem to have the desire to learn to knit for a specific purpose. The most popular one is probably the arrival of a new member of the family which seems to spur people into action and get them picking up the needles. For other people, the desire can be sparked by a specific item they’ve seen and really want to make for themselves. This is the reason I myself wanted to learn the ‘sister’ craft of crochet so that I could make things which had previously been untouchable for me because I didn’t know how to use a crochet hook.

Still need some inspiration? What might you be able to knit with just a little bit of knowledge?

Simple scarf like this one can easily be made with just basic stitches and you can make it for yourself or give as a gift!!

If you attend one of my Beginners Knitting workshops you will make one of these. You will take away the materials and pattern to make one for yourself, and when you’ve done that you can make more in different colours 🙂

 

These teddies are a really lovely easy knit which would be great to make for a new baby or small child.

Why not try making a baby blanket in a soft chunky baby yarn they’re really easy and quick to do for your new arrival.

You can make cushions for your home or as gifts. Try one of my simple but effective chain stripes cushions in beautiful but hardwearing Jakob aran yarn.

 

Will I need lots of expensive equipment?

Basically, no you won’t. Having said that, you will need some core items to begin with, and there are lots of products out there to tempt you, but it is up to you. If you would like to have lovely needles and notions you can do, but you don’t have to you can just stick to basic items.

A simple starter kit should probably contain –

  • a selection of smooth inexpensive double knitting weight yarns (you can move onto the fancy stuff and gorgeous natural fibres when you are more confident)
  • needles – again nothing too fancy needed unless you really want to, just some basic needles in the size appropriate for your yarn ie double knitting yarn 4mm needles or check your ballband to see what needles are recommended
  • pins
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • yarn needle
  • safety pins
  • row counter and/or pencil and paper

There are lots and lots of other things you could have but you’ll probably decide for yourself as you go along what you would like and what you need and what you can very easily live without!!

 

What’s the best way to learn?

This is another question to which there are probably as many answers as there are people who are looking to learn to knit!!

There are a number of options or combinations of options.

Most people would prefer to be taught by someone who really knows what they are doing. If you have a family member or friend close at hand who can get you started and then be called upon when needed for further assistance then you are probably very lucky and should make the most of it!!

There are lots of books available Vogue Knitting – The Ultimate Knitting Book, is a very good book and has clear instructions and illustrations.

Youtube has many videos which will show you what to do and I have met lots of people who have successfully taught themselves to knit this way.

Make the most of any resources you can find such as Ravelry, twitter, facebook. Find out what works for you, give things a try and don’t be frightened.

As a small business, I am always happy to help people out with any problems they are experiencing and it is one of the best parts of my job to be able to show them the answer. You may not get this service from some of the larger retailers out there but I’m sure most small yarn shops are able to provide a similar service to customers and with the same joy and pleasure!!

I run regular Beginners Knitting classes in Knaresborough and York, for those who would like more focused attention. These are for one full day which is generally enough to go through casting on, knit stitch, purl stitch, rib stitch, casting off, changing colours or joining in new balls of yarn. The aim is to equip you with the basic knowledge you need to start knitting and we provide enough yarn for you to make a simple rib stitch scarf which you will start making during the class and then take away to finish at your own speed.

Because different people will have different aims for their knitting, each persons next step will be slightly different, however I do run a Beyond the Basics workshop.

If you have learnt knit and purl stitch and are ready to move on to knitting something more than straight scarves this workshop is for you. The aim of the workshop is to give you all the knowledge you need to make a simple garment. You will receive a kit containing 50g of quality double knitting yarn, 1m ribbon & 14 buttons.

You will learn different increasing and decreasing techniques to create some triangular pieces in stocking stitch.

We will look at blocking the work you have produced, and we will pick up stitches to make a buttonhole band.

Add a few pretty buttons and you have your own knitted bunting!!

Just a final warning. Knitting can be addictive. Once you’ve started you may not be able to stop and I think that’s absolutely fantastic!!!

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Popping Up All Over Again!!!

Hello. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get to my blog and it’s looking a bit neglected.

I thought I’d tell you about Judith and Jeans Pop-Up-Shop.

We had lots of stock which didn’t sell in our closing down sale when we left Tadcaster and it was all being kept at Mum’s house until she decided what to do with it.

Mum and Dad need to move house now so the time had very much arrived for all that lovely wool to be found new homes.

We had our one day only EVERYTHING MUST GO pop-up-shop at York School of Sewing in January when Nadine very kindly let us join in her monthly shop Saturday. It was a very lovely day with quite a crowd of people coming through the doors when we opened at 10am. It was very nice to see people from our days in Tadcaster and there were also plenty of Nadines’ customers popping along to get supplies for sewing and a bit of yarn at the same time. There were plenty of bargains to be had as we’d taken as much along as we possibly could of the beautiful yarns that we needed to say goodbye to.

We were kept occupied all day long and were very happy to have cars much emptier on leaving than they were when we arrived.

Mum held another little sale of her own at our local Methodist Church and managed to supply lots more people with something to add to their stash. I’m happy to say that, with the help of Ebay all that enormous pile of yarn is now re-homed.

HOWEVER, Judith and Jeans one day only EVERYTHING MUST GO Pop-Up-Shop is to return!!

We still have stacks of stuff and it is not going in that removal van with my parents 🙂

So, on Saturday 3rd March we will be re-popping at Yorks School of Sewing and once more EVERYTHING MUST GO!!!

Take a look at some of the goodies on offer

That’s just a selection. I have much more including cross stitch kits, knitting needles and much much more!

As usual you can also stock up on Nadines lovely Fabrics, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Charm Packs and Fat Quarters.

It’s not just all about fabric – there’s lots of Equipment and other Sewing ‘Must Haves’ too

Special offers and plenty of bargains.

Come along and have a browse, we’d love to see you.

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Intarsia Knitting

Intarsia is a technique used in knitting to create patterns with multiple colours. It is possible to introduce areas of colour in any shape, size, and number.

The Intarsia technique is often used for sweaters with large, solid-colour features or ‘picture jumpers’ with designs such as fruits, flowers, geometric shapes or Christmas motifs like snowmen and robins.

Here is a new cushion I have designed (pattern available to buy) using the Intarsia technique to create these cute sausage dogs. There will be a workshop available in the New Year where you can learn how to make one if you’re not confident to do it alone!

Unlike other multicolour techniques (including Fair Isle, slip-stitch colour, and double knitting), Intarsia fabric is lightweight because it is only one strand thick, and yarn is not carried across the back of the work.

Not unlike a paint-by-numbers canvas, you place the coloured stitches in an intarsia design by following a chart row by row. It is much more difficult to follow a pattern written out line by line than to use a chart for this technique.

The most popular stitch for Intarsia knitting is stocking stitch but it is possible to use other stitches or combinations of stitches with often very attractive results.

Here reverse stocking stitch has been used combined with Trinity stitch.

 

This ‘M’ was an experiment which didn’t quite work out. A combination of Trinity stitch and stocking stitch for the ‘M’ shape may work out better.

 

When working in intarsia, it is easiest to use untreated yarns. Cotton, silk, and synthetic fibres are much more challenging to use because they are slippery.

Changing colours – When changing colours, you drop one strand of yarn and leave it hanging for use in the following row. Following the chart, work all the stitches you need in the first colour. Drop the old strand and forget about it until you need it again in the next row. Twist the new strand around the old one. Work with the new colour according to the chart. To change strands, bring the new colour up from underneath the old one. This twists the strands together, preventing holes from forming on the front of the work.

Knitting in intarsia theoretically requires no additional skills beyond being generally comfortable with the basic knit and purl stitches. It is important that your tension is even as it is easy to pull the yarn more tightly where the colours change and create uneven tension which does not look attractive.

Each area of colour in your design requires its own individual yarn supply, resulting in many strands hanging from your work. One way of keeping control of all these yarn ends is by winding a few yards of each colour onto its own bobbin.

Weave in the ends –Your intarsia fabric won’t be finished until all the ends are woven in on the wrong side, using a wool needle. If this is not done well it can spoilt the finished look of your work so take time to do it well. Because there will be so many ends to weave in, the very best thing to do is  weave them in every now and then as you work , rather than leaving them all to be sewn in after your knitting is finished.

Take time to play – If you are not familiar with this knitting technique it is worth taking some time to play with some odd bits of yarn and practice knitting from the chart you are about to use. Allow about 6 stitches either side of the motif and knit at least one sample. This will help you to choose what type of yarn to use. If you’re not sure try it in different yarns to make a comparison as the results can be surprisingly different in different fibres. Use simple geometric shapes to begin with, from squares and rectangles to diamonds and triangles. As your confidence develops, move on to more complex shapes and combinations of shapes. This is also a brilliant opportunity to incorporate small amounts of different textures and types of yarns into your knitting. Some exciting effects could be achieved by using multicolour yarns with the Intarsia technique, adding yet another dimension to your work.