Thursday, 11 June 2015

{New} Ravelry Picks of the Week

I love trawling Ravelry for new things to heart, queue and generally drool over. There is so much amazing talent out there and each week I am going to select a few of my favourite items to share with you. Feel free to leave me a comment telling me what's catching your eye lately, let's spread the woolly love! 
How serene is this colour palette. Although we are just coming into winter here in the southern hemisphere, these colours make me think of overcast summer days spent by the beach, golden sands stretching for miles and a slightly cool breeze flicking at your hair. That's where I'd rather be.
Clockwise from top left:

Monday, 13 April 2015

I've just updated my Etsy store with most of my patterns (minus one or two). Although I'd like to imagine every knitter, everywhere is a member of Ravelry, I'm sure some of you aren't. And although non-rav members can still purchase through rav, it is nice to have other options, isn't it. :-)
You can find my Etsy store by clicking right here

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Off and racing!

I've been a busy little bee. In the last month I have released not one but two new patterns. You may have seen them already over on Ravelry or facebook but just in case you haven't, allow me to introduce you.

First up we have Bux. Bux came about when I was pondering over the stitch pattern I used in my Wistful Cowl. I have other plans for this very pattern that I keep putting on the back burner, for now. The end result is quite different to my initial sketches. Sometimes designs are like that, they decide what they want to be and I just go along with it. I'm really happy with how this one turned out. When it comes to hats I think the crown is rather like a puzzle that needs to be worked out. I know I can easily just decrease all the stitches quickly for a slouchy hat but I feel that as a designer I need to really work out this puzzle and make the crown come together cohesively and beautifully rather than just bunch together. It's kind of like a personal challenge I guess.
That said, I never anticipated how stunning the crown would look until I had already knit my sample. I'm so pleased with it, did I say that already?

Towards the end of March I also released Inverto. Like Bux, Inverto was also inspired by a previous design of mine, Reversus.
Just like Reversus, Inverto are knit inside out to avoid a zillion purl stitches and the lace panel is worked in purl instead. When they are finished you turn them inside out to reveal the lace panel that sits perfectly across the back of your hand. I used the stunning White Gum Wool 4ply (Hand dyed by Augustbird) for these mitts. The result is a soft-as-kittens and lighter-than-air mitt that is surprisingly warm. Perfect for wearing while knitting or sitting at the computer.

Both patterns are available on Ravelry now.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Making time...

In 2014 I found myself busy with work, kids, school, Somehow my knitting time suffered as a result and I was less productive than ever. Some days I find myself giving away my precious time to social media because frankly I'm too tired to actually DO anything else. Then the guilt sets in, do you get that too? The feeling that precious time is slipping away or being stolen by silly online stories or memes or people you probably don't even know so well. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day dramas, get lost in a story or sidetracked by pretty pictures. But then I stop and think what is happening to me? What is happening to this generation of people so reliant on social media that they can't even walk down the street without whipping out their phones.
Are you guilty of succumbing to the seductive lure of the internet? Do you feel like you are losing time or is it your escape?
I think my goal for this year is to take a step back; try a little harder to resist that pull, to be more present in the moment, my own moment, not someone elses.

Back in December I did this crazy thing. I released a new pattern and co-hosted a knit-along on ravelry with fellow designer Paula Henley of Koru Designs Aotearoa. December is always crazy around here so I have no idea what I was thinking taking on this massive task. We got there in the end and it was loads of fun and we had a tonne of support from local dyers and craftspeople who donated amazing prizes to give away. At the time I also got in contact with Susannah from WOOLganics. You see, the new pattern I mentioned, Zaheera, was specifically designed for the velvety soft WOOLganic yarn. With a high neckline I wanted to make sure the yarn used was cat-belly soft and non-itchy because I know how much kids hate itchy things near their sweet little necks.
So I had this thought, how fun would it be if I could give away not only a copy of the pattern, but also the yarn to knit it with too. Susannah thought this was a great idea and has generously offered to donate two prize packs consisting of four balls of WOOLganic organic merino 8ply (DK) in the winner's choice of colour. That is enough to knit the largest size Zaheera with leftovers!
I will be running the giveaway over on my facebook page, so please pop over to my page for more info. But before you do, leave me a comment telling me what you hope to improve in your life this year.

Happy Knitting.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Backyard photography (and a new pattern)

One of my favourite parts of the knitting process is the finishing. I know I may be in the minority here but I don't mind weaving in ends, sewing seams and I LOVE blocking! Not only does blocking inject life into the finished item, it also means I am a mere few hours from wearing my brand new knitted; and that is my very best part!
I also look forward to photographing my knits. I'm really lucky to have over a hectare of natural Australian bush as my backyard. No matter what time of year it is, my backyard is always stunningly beautiful with tall willowy Karri and Marri trees, natural coffee rock and banksia trees. The ground is a carpet of fallen leaves and in winter, when the rain has washed everything clean, the colours positively glow.

That, my friends, is my backyard! Oh and my new cowl pattern ;-)

Most of my photoshoots take place here and the bushland you see is literally metres from my back door.
Now I don't profess to be an expert photographer, in fact my bestie would kill me if I did (She actually IS a photographer! She often sneers at my 'little' camera ;-)) But since I can't always have her on hand to take amazing pics for me, I have to make do with the resources I have.
I shoot with an amatuer level DSLR; a Canon 500D. I always shoot in natural light and try to choose overcast days or late afternoon where possible for the best lighting. I've been training Miss 12 to take my pics for me (she does a much better job than hubby!) And this past weekend we went to the beach for a shoot, just for something different. It was an unseasonably hot day with some light cloud cover so we were rushing to take pics each time the clouds diffused the sun.
The photo's are of my latest pattern, Wistful Cowl, which I released on Ravelry overnight.

This cowl features a diagonal eyelet mesh pattern that changes direction halfway. At the start of the round you are left with a vertical strip of stocking stitch, the perfect background for some decorative buttons! You can choose from the shorter version (shown in green) or the long version (pink) which can be wrapped twice for extra warmth.
The pattern is available for $4.50 AUD and you can buy it here:

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Helping Hands

A fundraising event is currently taking place over on facebook to help fellow designer Julia Stanfield during a difficult time. For the next two days ALL of my patterns are reduced by 20% and ALL sales will be donated to the Stanfield family fund. This is a great opportunity to get a pattern you've been eyeing off at a discounted rate and to help a fellow knitter during her time of need. Use the coupon code: JustOneHelpingHand at checkout to get your discount. :-)

Oh, and see those rad legwarmers top right? They are coming to Ravelry very very soon!! But if you're super keen, drop me an email. For the next few days they are available for the discounted price of $3AUD.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Pattern Release::Reversus

Late last year Nan Bray of White Gum Wool very generously sent me a skein each of her buttery soft and velvety sustainable and ethical merino wool in the 4ply and 8ply bases. The samples were intended for test dyeing which of course I did, but almost immediately the seed of an idea began to sprout in my mind.
Reversus began as the simplest of sketches, not even a fully fledged idea, just a lace panel flanked in reverse stocking stitch. The original sketch is dated a year ago. At some point while flicking back through my journal the seed germinated and suddenly this little lace panel was destined to become a hat.
The idea of ALL that purling wasn't really appealing to me so I started to toy with the idea of knitting it inside out. I practically knit a whole other hat as my swatch trying to get the lace stitches to sit right. Once that part was sorted I had to think about the crown of the hat. what would happen to the lace as the hat got smaller?
Some hats have you knit to a certain length and then just decrease like crazy over three or four rounds and the hat is done. That's fine and looks great for slouchy hats but I really wanted something a little more polished so I began playing around with the lace and how to decrease while maintaining the pattern as long as possible. I hope you like the finished result. I do.

As this pattern went live today Alicia Plummer also released a new pattern featuring a very similar lace motif. White Leaf is a beautiful cosy cowl knit in Augustbird rich aran. The two patterns compliment each other so nicely and would make a perfect matching set.
Augustbird is also a retailer of the White Gum wool that I used for Reversus and I have recommended her beautiful hand dyed yarns as the perfect partner for my pattern. Rebecca has kindly offered a 10% discount on her DK weight yarns for anyone wanting to knit their own Reversus. How awesome is that! To take advantage of this generous offer just enter the coupon code reversusDK10 at the checkout.
For the next two days my pattern is available for the special price of $3.50 (applied at checkout, no coupon needed) after which it will revert to the full price of $4.50.
You can find the pattern here: Reversus Don't forget to take a look at the finished projects. My testers did a wonderful job!

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Twenty-thirteen in review...

It seems that this year has flown by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe that Christmas has been and gone and here we are again on the very cusp of a new year. But when I sit and reflect on all that has taken place in the last twelve months I do begin to realise that I have squeezed a fair bit into my days.
2013 was the year for me to take my design ideas and put them to paper. It has been a long, slow and arduous process. I have spent many many late nights up trying to wrap my brain around the math; making silly little mistakes that seem obvious with the benefit of hindsight. I have, at times, seemed to be glued to my laptop as I work my way through sizing, layout, yardage estimates, math! and finally the publishing process. But it has been rewarding with four patterns fully published and available for download via Ravelry.

I knit 6 hats this year! One made its way to London without a proper photo. Two were test knits for other designers and three were my own pattern Rhiannon.

From left: Twisted Hipster, Rhiannon, Rhiannon, Hundreds of Hats
I test knit two patterns for Tikki:

I took my three kids and my mum to Victoria to visit my grandparents. What an amazing memory this is to have! Not to mention my first visit to the Bendigo Woollen Mills!!

I released four patterns!!

From left: Big button cowl, Mud Princess (tunic), Ember, Mud Princess (dress), Rhiannon

And despite my lack of blogging/ showing off, I also managed to knit myself two sweaters. Just in time for our hot Aussie summer!


Thyone (heavily modified)
So I don't really have any resolutions for the new year. I'm not really big on the whole resolution thing anyway but I guess I will set some goals; especially regarding getting more new designs out there. (If only resolving to go to work LESS was an option!! hehe)
Do you have any resolutions? Feel free to share below.
For now, I'm off to watch a movie with the kiddies and enjoy a cold glass of vino.
Here's wishing you a happy and safe new year to you and your family.
Nichole  xxx

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Mud Princess :: Pattern Release

Remember in Harry Potter when Hermione gets the time turner so she can be in two places at the same time. Well I really need one of those. Time seems to be slipping faster and faster these days; kinda like when the hourglass is almost empty and suddenly every grain of sand is clamouring to get through the darn hole! Somehow it's already been a week, maybe even two since I released my new pattern Mud Princess

This pattern stayed with me for a long time, evolving and changing over the course of many months until finally being realised into the finished pattern it is now. 

 Mud Princess is seamless and knit in one piece from the top down with a circular yoke featuring garter stitch stripes which perfectly show off a slow colour change or gradient yarn. You have the option of knitting tunic length or dress length and three sleeve styles giving you a total of six different styles!

Pop over to Ravelry to check out my awesome testers' projects. As you can see there are many options to customise this little dress to suit your little princess. 
To celebrate its release I will be offering a discount over on my facebook page so be sure to pop over there also so you don't miss out. You don't need to be a ravelry member to purchase any of my patterns although I highly recommend you join because it's free and it's awesome!! You can also purchase Mud Princess by clicking the link below. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Pattern release : : Ember

My new pattern Ember is now live over on Ravelry!
Ember is a sweet and simple little tank top with a corrugated rib yoke for a pop of colour. The contrast colour uses less than 10g of yarn (approx) for all sizes so is a great way to use up small amounts of scrap yarn.
For the next 4 days only I am offering Ember at 20% off for my facebook fans. You can find the coupon code over here. This offer expires at midnight (AWST) October 4th so be quick!


Not a member of Ravelry? Dont fret, you can buy the pattern here:

Testing, testing...

Pattern: Tully by Georgie Hallam 
Yarn: WOOLganics organic merino knitters yarn (hand dyed by me)
Size: 21" chest with 2" extra length

I'm sure I've mentioned before how much I love to do test knits. I don't do too many though mainly due to time constraints. But every now and then I find myself without too many commitments and the right design comes along and I think YES!
It's no secret that I love, LOVE tikki's designs and when I choose a test knit for myself I am often looking for something that will teach me a technique I haven't used before or is challenging to me.
This gorgeous cardi features top down, seamless set-in-sleeves. I had never done this before and I really enjoyed learning how to do it. I think I will definitely be looking to use this technique more in the future.
This pattern hasn't been officially released as of writing this but I'm sure it isn't too far away.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Yarn, glorious yarn!

My first stocking of hand dyed yarns is now up for preview over on my facebook page
The sale will go live next Friday night at 7pm AEST. Go check it out!

Also, I have started up my very own fan club, I mean Ravelry group so I have somewhere to hang and chat with awesome peeps, post info about upcoming patterns and advice for current patterns, issue tester calls and just generally chat about, well, knitting! You know you want to join my club, don't you. It's very exclusive you know ;-)
I'd love to have you, drop on by some time.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Dodgy video and a pattern giveaway

I've been meaning, with the very best of intentions you understand, for some time now to do a little tutorial on how to work the decreasing cables in my Rhiannon Hat pattern without using a cable needle (Handy if you tend to misplace those pesky little things!) It occurred to me after much procrastination (aka life in general) that making a video would probably be easier and quicker.
I don't know about you but for me a YouTube video is worth a gazillion tutorial photo's. I filmed this video about 50 times! Well, ok, that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I did film it a lot! It's a little darker than I would have liked and my silly phone kept shifting focus but overall you can see what's going on and I managed to keep my hands mostly in frame.

Link to my YouTube video because blogger wont let me upload it here. Grrr

I don't have any fancy video editing software at my disposal these days so it's as basic as can be, please don't laugh at me! ;-)
And because I did promise a while ago, I thought I would give away a copy (or maybe even two) of the aforementioned pattern just so you can have a go at cabling without a cable needle for yourself.
To enter to win a copy of my pattern please leave me a comment below telling me what knitting or crafting 'trick' has been the most invaluable to you. Learning to cable without a cable needle is certainly a time saver for me.
Entries will close at midnight Australian Western Standard time on August 15. That gives you 10 days! Please leave your Ravelry name or your email. I will gift the pattern to you via Ravelry or send via email so please make sure I can contact you!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Forging the road to design

While I'm not new to the whole designing thing (I spent a couple of years studying fashion design in my whimsical youth) the process of designing knitwear is a new and sometimes daunting prospect. I've been altering patterns and knitting on the fly for a few years now, but I made the decision that 2013 was the year I would put these ideas on paper and unleash them on the unsuspecting public.
That said, I sometimes feel like the process of taking a design idea through the stages to complete garment and then written pattern takes forever! I'm going to admit here that I have serious designer envy! So many designers out there seem to churn out pattern faster than I can even knit a sample. How the heck do they do that? (Clearly they are all stay at home mums with no responsibilities to attend to!* ;-) )
I'm sure that with time and practice the whole process becomes much easier and even faster and the math becomes less daunting. This week I have finished the prototype of a girls dress design that has been bouncing around my head since about January of this year. It has changed a bit from my original sketches and after a few false starts I have a finished garment that turned out exactly as I'd planned. The next step for me is to take this one dress and write up the pattern for a variety of sizes including a few different sleeve options and varying lengths. I want to make this pattern as appealing and as saleable as possible to as many people as possible as I feel like having options makes the finished garment far more versatile and fun to knit.

Knitting the sample really is the easy part. Trusting that the math works and that the graded sizes will also look great and fit well, well that is a giant leap of faith for me! Trusting that I can actually do the math is also a giant leap of faith! (Oh, if Mrs Denham could see me now! haha)
Another hurdle is working out how much yardage each size will take. Knitters need this information before they knit a pattern to know how much yarn to buy (or dig out of deep stash) After driving myself almost crazy on this one, I found this link which outlines a really easy way to calculate the yardage. At first glance, all those number made my eyes glaze over, but once I sat down and worked through it I was astounded at how simple it is. I drew a rough schematic with all the sizes and measurements and was able to apply Kristen's formula and it works! Magic!

It will be interesting to see where this road takes me. I'd like to think that in a couple of years I'll be as awesome as the likes of Georgie Hallam (aka tiKKi). All I know for now is that as long as I'm making things up, I might as well write them down and hope that other people like them too.

* disclaimer: Please don't launch an assault at me! While I am envious that you may get to stay at home, I don't think for a second that you actually get to knit all day. If you do, then I hate you and I may kidnap you and force you to be my knitting slave.

Monday, 10 June 2013

It's been a while...

Hello. My name is Nichole and it has been 2 months since my last confession, I mean blog post ;-)
I actually have had quite a bit going on but you know how it is when life gets in the way.
First up, I had the marvellous pleasure of test knitting Beear for the gorgeous Georgie Hallam, aka tiKKi.
Let me just say that being asked to test for my favourite designer pretty much made my life!

Miss Bella models her Beear

 I had this finished just in time as me the three kidlets packed up and headed over to Victoria to visit my Grandparents for 10 days. It was such an amazing trip and I was so excited to take my own kids to meet two of the most important people in my life. Despite our Red-eye flight we took the very long and scenic route out to Avoca via Bendigo specifically so I could stop here:


I had to raid my piggy bank before we left because I knew I wouldn't be able to resist the temptation of the infamous "Back Room". ;-)


Look at ALL that YARN! 
During a trip to Daylesford I picked up some Noro Silk Garden and knit a Turn a Square beanie for my Pop. It came out a little bigger than it should have, despite my ripping back and changing needles! He decided it should be worn like a Newsboy cap! haha silly old Pop. <3
My Gorgeous, Silly, Amazing Pop <3

So far this past month I've finally made some actual progress on my Levenwick. I am determined to have it finished for this winter! I've had to put it down again to finish a commissioned knit for my sister in law. I'm knitting her Cherie Amour in gorgeous Malabrigo Rios. I'm starting to fret that I'm knitting the wrong size despite the hours I've spent poring over the schematic. I'm hoping that a good hard blocking will work it's magic, otherwise I'm preparing myself to cut the darned thing in half and reknit the lower section again. (Yes, I will actually cut my knitting in half!)
In my spare time (ha!) I'm also participating in this year's Mystery Knit along hosted by Kristen Kapur. I loved last year's shawl so much and this year it's a three colour shawl! Stripes!!
AND. Finally... I am making some progress on my latest design. After knitting the initial sample I spent  some time thinking over the construction. It had to be knit from the bottom up but I found the finishing to be really fiddly and wondered if that would translate well into a written pattern. I've finally come up with a viable solution and after knitting a test swatch I'm ready to knit my second sample. Here's a little sneaky peek for you ;-)

Ohhh ruffles!