We had such fun with our cowl knitting and crocheting last year, didn’t we? It was initially kicked off to coincide with the release of Loraine’s pattern Find My Way cowl. We had some amazing entries and some worthy winners of the prizes.
From Sunday 4th April 2021 at 15:30 UK time through Sunday 18th April 2021 at 23:59pm we will be discounting all the cowl patterns we have available by 25% using the unique code Cowlabunga2021. The KAL itself will then continue to run until Sunday 2nd May 2021 at 16:00 UK time.
We will have a cast on party live in our Facebook group on the Sunday afternoon. You will be able to join us in the chat to tell us which patterns you have chosen and which yarns you will be using. We love to see your WIPs and FOs so don’t forget to post in the FB or Ravelry groups with pictures. And tag us when you are posting on social media!
Is there a Cowlabunga Discount?
There most certainly is! This year we will be using the discount code cowlabunga2021 and you can use it as many times as you want! Just put the patterns you want into your Ravelry shopping cart, enter and apply the code between Sunday 4th April 2021 at 15:30 UK time through Sunday 18th April 2021 at 23:59 pm and 25% will be taken off the price. You will be able to buy more than one pattern but if you choose to buy from both of us you will have to check each shop out separately.
What Prizes Can I win?
This year we will be offering pattern codes and e-books as prizes. Last year I don’t think we realised how much the Covid pandemic was going to affect life, the post included! And I must admit that I was absolutely terrible at getting to the post office to send off my physical prizes. So this year we have decided to keep everything digital. Both Loraine and I will be offering codes for our single self published patterns and some e-books of our collections.
Show Me Some Eligible Patterns!
Both Loraine and I have released new cowl patterns since last year, so even if you entered before there will be something new to tempt you. However, if you already own one of our cowl patterns you could make it again. Test knits are also eligible if the pattern releases before the event finishes on Sunday 2nd May 2021 23:59. As long as you don’t cast on before 4th April 15:30 you can enter your project for a prize!
You will find a bundle of all our eligible patterns on Ravelry – Cowlabunga Cowls
Wheatsheaf Poncho is out now, check out our Test Knitter’s projects
I was late released the Wheatsheaf Poncho Pattern but it was finally released the day before my birthday. I am so grateful, as always, to the amazing Test Knitters who ask questions, knit beautiful items and help to make the pattern the best it can be. It does make a real difference to the end result and I love, love, love to see their photos, close ups of buttons and their yarn choices. Karen used her handspun yarn in a jewel toned heathered pinks. It is stunning and I love the yarn she made just for this pattern. How totally cool is that?
This is the second birthday I’ve spent in full lockdown, which seems a bit weird, but I won’t be the only one. Last year, my son ordered us a pizza each and garlic bread. As we both had Covid at the time, neither of us tasted a thing. I’m happy to say that this year, we had a Chinese meal and it was delicious, no cooking or washing up for me! YAY.
I’m having a birthday sale that ends tonight, all my individual self-published patterns are 30% off with the code Birthday
The code will work in our Ravelry store and our Payhip store, but sadly not in the Lovecrafts store. If you need to wait until payday, you can get 20% off the Wheatsheaf Poncho with the code Wheatsheaf until Sunday night BST.
I’ll be publishing the Wheatsheaf Poncho Pattern very soon and our email subscribers will receive an exclusive discount code, just for them.
Here are some photos of my testers garments, Karen did some short rows on hers, but the others worked the pattern exactly as written.
I love this cool purple that Cathy chose, she’s a beautiful lady and this compliments her colouring so well. The buttons look glittery almost in this photo, but check the one below that for a close up. Cathy knitted the L Size.
Karen’s poncho is in another cool colour, this multi tonal pink handspun is to die for. Karen knitted the S/M size.
I’m always glad to see some different yarns used for testing and when Nita suggested James C Brett Rustic Aran Tweed in the colour way 30 Dat I was delighted. It’s a blend with 20% wool, blocks nicely, washes well and has amazing colours. Isn’t it stunning? It’s also an affordable option. I like this yarn because the colours, like Stylecraft, are consistent and dyelots rarely matter very much. Nita knitted an XL size.
I knitted my Wheatsheaf Poncho with some Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool in the Spruce colourway. It’s a heathered mix of greens both warm and cool. It’s machine wash, softens with each wash and is really affordable for those on a budget. I’m wearing the XL sized Poncho and it used around 520g of yarn, so 1 and a bit 400g balls.
Following on from an excellent blog post about Pattern Pricing by my friend Ruth Brasch, it got me thinking about pattern pricing and the way the industry is moving. I’ll add links for Ruth’s post and also a post she references which goes through survey results of how long it takes to carry out each part of the pattern development and it’s a scary number. (links to all sources below on this page).
Like Ruth, I’m against the pay what you can model. Why? Because it appears in many cases to be a stealth method to up the lowest price (which is higher than the norm) and then add more expensive options. I like that it gives people choice, but 𝗶𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂’𝗿𝗲 𝗴𝗼𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗼 𝗽𝘂𝘁 𝘂𝗽 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀, 𝗷𝘂𝘀𝘁 𝗱𝗼 𝗶𝘁. I’ve put my prices up and I’m happy to have made that choice. My work has value, I have value and if you want the pattern, then buy it. If you don’t, that’s cool too. I’m not out to please everyone, it’s not possible.
I’m all for being flexible, but I did have someone give me a sob story about not being able to afford the pattern, gifted it to them and saw photos of them knitting it while on holiday in Barbados. I sat at home in Cumbria with no holiday. Did I get some exposure? I suppose I did, but not from anyone who buys patterns.
Looking at the figures in the article by Thread and Ladle, the minimum number of hours involved in creating a good quality knitting pattern for a sweater is 53.1 hrs, the maximum in her survey being 113.65 hrs. That’s NOT including yarn, the cost of Tech Editing, needles, notions, tools, website, email service, marketing the pattern, graphics, Ravelry fees, Paypal fees, models, schematics, time spent testing and answering testers questions.
To cover all that, and have some actual income for me, that means a minimum number of pattern sales of 350 to 760 per sweater pattern.
Sari Nordlund has an interesting chat about pattern pricing on her YouTube channel, what income she makes and what patterns are worth designing for her.
She’s very open and honest about it, so give it a look. Link below.
I appreciate money is tight for many people, but designers also need to make a living and cover their actual costs. There are lots of free patterns, sales and other promotions and we always discount a pattern on it’s launch with a bigger discount for email subscribers.
The amount of work is considerably more than most people think and to market your pattern effectively, you should spend double the time it took to create it. Adding more time to the calculations.
As someone who loves to knit garments, to wear and for pattern designing, it’s a sobering thought.
It’s not like I take the easy route out, I always go up to the larger plus sizes and add tips on how to upsize even more. It doubles the Tech Editing costs because there are more numbers, measurements and stitch counts to be checked. As a curvy woman, it’s important to me that I produce patterns that a woman of any size can wear, but it comes at a price.
Do I stick to accessories for a quicker win, or plod on with garments and hope that at some point, more of them will reach that magic number of sales?
Wheatsheaf Sweater – what did I learn and what do I love?
I finished the actual knitting of the Wheatsheaf Sweater on Saturday night while on a Zoom call with some friends from the After Party group on Ravelry. We always have a lot of laughs and enjoy chatting, but knitting or crochet happens at the same time. I was picking up the neckband of the Wheatsheaf Sweater and cast off/bound off my stitches not long before I left the chat to go to bed.
I prefer a fitted knit to a saggy, baggy knit that swamps me. The 20 year old me would be appalled, she liked to cover up her shape and hide her body.
I like that I have a waist, boobage and curvy hips. The belly, less so, but it’s the same belly that covered my son and kept him safe during my pregnancy, so I can forgive it anything.
I love the two cables that run up the front of the sweater and split at the V neckline to follow the V shape and create a beautiful design line. If you’d like to see more of the project, you can see my Ravelry project page here.
I learned a long time ago that I prefer to seam and knit flat. But I also know that many of you prefer seamless knits so there will be two versions of the pattern to suit both types of knitters. For this cable, I prefer bottom up as it’s easier to work the cable, so I will probably stick with that.
Wheatsheaf Sweater – let’s talk ease
I wanted 1-2 inches of negative ease at the bust, pre-blocking. After blocking, it’s a perfect fit. At the lower body, which is Aline in shape I wanted it to fit me without too much extra fabric, a neat but good fit. My preference is based on my own shape and knowing what suits me. I’m not tall, only 5ft 2in and I’m a curvy girl. Boxy knits or oversized items absolutely swamp me and all that extra fabric makes me look a lot bigger than I am. Not a good look for me.
For a modified drop shoulder sweater you might want 2-4 inches on the body, but the most important measurement is the shoulder width on the back. That measurement needs to fit you. With a modified drop, it’s easy to adapt, as you can work the lower body wider (Aline, straight or with waist shaping) and bind off more or less stitches to get the shoulder width you need.
Understanding your sleeve length also helps. The sleeve for a modified drop shoulder sweater is lengthened to fit the armhole gap. If you make your upper body narrower, add length at that part of the sleeve, if you make it wider, reduce the length of the sleeve top. There’s a little bit of easy maths involved, but you’ll love your sweater so much more if it actually fits YOU.
What would I do differently?
I’d have knitted the sleeves with a couple of inches of ease. They’re a good fit, no extra fabric and the cables look good down the centre of the sleeve. That said, an extra inch or two for comfort would be nice. Though with washing and wearing, I know this yarn will relax a bit. Next week it’ll be a looser fit on those sleeves. I’m also carrying a bit of lockdown fluff, which I’m planning to shift over the coming months which will make all the difference, no alterations required.
What is the Wheatsheaf Sweater a Modified Drop Shoulder?
It’s one of the best ways to go with the current trend for Drop Shoulders but have a garment that fits someone with narrow shoulders. Just because something is popular, fashionable or on trend, doesn’t mean it’s for me or you. Wear what suits you, the shapes that flatter your figure and leave the high fashion to others.
The shoulder seam ends at the main shoulder bone, at the top of your arm, not near your elbow. The line of the shoulder and armhole draws the eye up to your face, now down the body to the extra fabric or droop of standard drop shoulder sweaters.
If you have lovely broad shoulders, then a standard drop shoulder will look great on you, so please go for it. But, for those with a narrower upper body, they’re not usually the most flattering shape.
Drape, Fabric and Swatches
Other considerations include drape and how the fabric of the sweater behaves. Does it drape nicely or is it so firm that it could stand up without you wearing it? I’ll state the unpopular view that a swatch will tell you a great deal, I’ll also add that one of the best, absolute best swatches for a sweater is a sleeve. It’s large enough and heavy enough to show you have the yarnwill really behave on the rest of the garment, rather than a six inch square which only tells us how it behaves in a small piece of knitting or crochet.
You can work your sleeve swatch in the round or flat, whatever suits the pattern you’re making, but that one item will tell you so much and save you a lot of time.
For those working top down and in the round, a large swatch of any kind is your friend. I will admit that for top down sweaters, where I have used the yarn before, I have a rough idea of the needle size I will need to get gauge/tension. I’ll just cast on and crack on with the knitting or crochet. However, I measure A LOT, during that first part of the knitting. I need to know whether it’s going to be wide enough, do I need to add length, adjust my increases etc. So pay attention at this stage of your garment.
Sensational sock knitting, my friends think I’m crazy
Are their plagues of locusts on the way? Is the world ending? No. So why am I sock knitting?
I had an urge last month to knit socks, I have NO idea why as I haven’t knitted socks in several years and even then it was either bulky/chunky weight or aran weight. Anything finer has me running for the door screaming.
But, I cast on some dk weight socks and knitted them over a weekend, then cast on another pair of socks using some West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley DK and again, they flow off the needles.
I’ve knitted one Aran weight sock by Mary E Rose Designs, called The Ultimate Answer because all sizes are 42 stitches. I’m half way through sock number two and still enjoying knitting them.
What is going on? I’m worried that next week I’ll find myself knitting a king sized duvet cover with 2mm needles and laceweight yarn.
There are several theories, some think I was abducted by aliens and the person typing this post is really an alien who took my place. I’m not really sure what their agenda would be in stealing a 50 something, lumpy Mum, but you never know?
To be fair, I find it hard to buy socks that fit my feet. I’m a UK size five but socks are usually sized 4-7 which means the heels stick out the back of my running shoes. Hmmm. My feet have been cold. Which is odd as the rest of me has been battling menopause symptoms and melting the frost on the car just be looking at it.
I know have two, almost three, pairs of socks that fit my feet perfectly. I did design some Aran weight socks, the Wheatsheaf Aran Socks, available on Ravelry, LoveCrafts or Payhip.
Are you sock knitting?
Sensational sock knitting gallery
Wheatsheaf Boot Cuffs Pattern Cute Cables 2020
Wheatsheaf Boot Cuffs Pattern, the Wheatsheaf Boot Cuffs or Toppers have been designed to match the Wheatsheaf Cowl, Wheatsheaf Hat and Wheatsheaf mittens. I love cables and wanted something that was both fun and quick to knit.