Sunday, 22 February 2015

Coffee To Go

caffè latte shawlette by yours truly
ice yarns angora design in 'brown shades'
ice yarns angora premium in 'ivory'
A caffè latte is more than just a milky coffee, even if it is exactly that when translated from the Italian!  But if you're a coffee drinker, well, it's much more that that; it's coffee heaven!

To the Italians, a caffè latte is a brew made at home for breakfast, which would be accompanied by one of their many delicious sweet pastries, but to those of us brought up more on coffee-shop coffee than home-made coffee from a moka pot, then, mmm-mmm, lattes are a staple for day-long caffeination!

I find watching a barista steam milk and gently pour it into an espresso, then add some latte art on the top in the form of a latte-are rosetta (or fern motif) just the right balance of relaxing viewing to counteract the caffeine shot about to hit!  Plus you have the added bonus of the extra yummy tasty coffee treats you can get; just by adding flavoured syrup you can be in caramel latte heaven!  Or pumpkin spice heaven! Or gingerbread latte heaven (my personal coffee cloud 9)!  

So, taking my favourite hot beverage as inspiration, the Caffè Latte shawlette has a latte rosetta edge, with lacy, frothy steamed milk:

a cabled hit of coffee bean:

with a short-row body of caffeine heaven, finishing with a simple eyelet edge - that bit of creamy froth that's always left in the bottom of your cup:

But really it's worked from the short edge of the latte strip using 3 balls of yarn at a time, and when I say simple intarsia, I mean simple!  So simple that this was my first attempt at working the technique!

The rosetta, froth, coffee bean cable, and more froth were all worked together in a long strip:

then bound-off to one stitch, turned 90 degrees and then picked-up lengthwise (please excuse the unfocussed photo):

and the body of the shawlette was worked in good old stockinette stitch, with the unsupped eyelet froth to finish!

You have a choice with the transfer of the contrast colour (I used the ivory as my contrast, the brown mix as the main colour) for the body of the shawl - you can do as I did and have a highlight ivory purl edge between both sections, which is worked in staggered lines (you can see it clearly in the first photo), or there are instructions for a pure stockinette changeover.  Both are pleasing to the eye in their own lovely way!

But where, I hear you ask, can we find such a tasty, tasty pattern?  Never fear, Ravelry and Loveknitting are here!  The main pattern page on Ravelry is open to ALL whether you are a member or not, and you can either click the buy-it-now link on the page, or you can click on the handy button below!  

Now, if you've read my last blog post, you'll know that payment will be a bit different for the next few months, so depending on where you are, you'll either find yourself going straight to the PayPal page as of old, or you'll find yourself at a Loveknitting page, and through that you'll be directed to PayPal. In the end, it's all still PayPal, just different ways of getting there.  There may be a slight delay for the link to work through for EU buyers, but please check back.

But Red, I hear you ask again, how much are you charging for such deliciousness? Well...  this is where it gets complicated.  Give or take a few pennies/cents either way, I will be charging €4 for this lovely shawlette pattern... 

Normally with my new patterns, I like to offer you all a deal, money off the pattern with a special code, for example, but because of the new system of selling, it's not something I can do just now.  SO INSTEAD I'm taking 25% off the price for the next 2 weeks!  Yes indeed, until the 8th of March you'll find this delight available for the introductory price of €3 (or the monetary equivalent of your country!)

Grab it while it's hot!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Merry VATmess And A Bamboozling New Year

Micro-sellers roasting on a gov'ment whim,
VAT nibbling at your costs,
Yuletide tax being slapped on to skim
Tiny profit, all is lost,
It's a profit frost that doesn't help the little man
Make the season bright of yore,
Puny sales not worth much, down the pan,
Won't find it hard to close the store.

We know it started in '08,
Before the digi world was fixed in any state
To understand just how the internet
Would let the little guys soar like a jet.

Ravelry's offering a simple fix,
To help those suff'ring this snafu,
And with Loveknitting, all the boxes have ticks,
To bring patterns to the EU...

All parodies aside, it may have escaped your notice that the UK/EU in their desire to crack down on those big companies who are avoiding paying taxes in the UK (there's usually at least one story a week in the British tabloids about some massive company or other's UK tax dodge) has issued new tax laws that come in to force, oh, yesterday, to try and get them to cough up.  

Why is that a subject of YOUR blog post, Red?, I hear you ask... well...  It appears that all this new VAT tax shall probably achieve is the shutting down of many, many micro digital businesses...  It's a long, convoluted story on a subject that I must admit to not completely understanding enough to be able to wax lyrical, so I shall take Ravely's own code monkey, Casey's explanation:
On January 1st, 2015, a complex set of tax changes goes into effect in the European Union. Sellers of pattern PDFs now have to pay tax to European Union member countries when a pattern buyer resides in that country. [For more information and resources, see]
You can imagine the amount of pain this will cause to micro businesses and hobby designers, and I understand that there are not just a few of which have chosen (keeping to my specialist area, knitting) to stop selling their patterns completely, or offer them all for free.

As a band-aid, Ravelry and Loveknitting (a yarny shop website that sells all things knitting and crochet) have teamed together to offer EU designers a way to keep selling their patterns but without the headache of working out the VAT for each different country in which the purchaser resides.  (Oh yes, it is that complicated!)  

What do you need to do?  Absolutely nothing.  You can buy patterns as normal, through Ravelry, through my links, and now, also through Loveknitting.  Depending on your location, you will either be directed to pay through the Ravelry platform, or the Loveknitting platform.  (They also Lovecrochet, too!)  But thanks to this new VAT, prices will change, albeit only by pennies/cents, and each country will have a separate rate. You cannot BEGIN to imagine how thankful I am for this collaboration between Loveknitting and Ravelry.

We've been given a 6 months fees-free chance to keep selling our patterns, which is marvellous.  IF this mess hasn't been cleaned-up after 6 months, then LK will begin to charge us 20% commission on every pattern it sells.  I hope you understand that I will have to match this commission in my prices if that day comes...  I hope not!

So, really, thanks for reading, thanks for buying, and thanks for knitting my patterns!  I would have been devastated to have to pull my patterns, and stop designing, so I think for now I'm just going to continue to be grateful for small mercies!

Merry New 2015!

(And because I can't leave this post without a little knitting pr0n, here's a little hint of something that should be getting released into the wild in a week!)  ;)

All text ⓒNW

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Everything In The Garden's...

... boozy.

It's been a while since I opened up the drinks cabinet of my imagination. I am glad to report that it hasn't been emptied by teenage thoughts in the interim, although I'm still not sure how that bottle of Advocaat came into being...  Mind you, doesn't the Snowball cocktail use that...?  And the Bombardino?  Hey, there's also the Fluffy Duck... 

(My mind: a dangerous place in which to get lost.)

But I digress.  Slightly.   What I'm really here to bring you is the 'Summer Vegetable Most-Unhealthy Use' prize of 2014:  Peapod Wine.

peapod wine socks by yours truly
bbknits superwash sock in 'seagrass'
Yes indeed, this fruity little number... erm vegetally little number... has been grown from the seed of home-made wine memories of my youth. My Dad's home-made wines, that is.  The fruit or vegetable mash in the big tub which would slowly make its way to demijohns with their blip-blooping airlocks and finally to their final (temporary) destination in corked bottles under the floor where it was dark and cool.  It must be pointed out that Dad never actually made peapod wine, and although his raspberry, his rhubarb, and above all his parsnip wine shall forever live in our slightly hazy memories, there's not really anything sock-worthy about tipsy root vegetables.
So for inspiration I went instead to the rest of his garden, where the potatoes (great for chips, crap for socks), lettuce (can you even have boozy salad?), and carrots (pff, if you're not having them with dinner, then the only other decent and proper use is in cake) were passed over for the tendrilly fragrant vines that would climb up the old bamboo frames and present us with pods full of pea-popping sweetness. Perfect!

So I started the socks just how the pea plant starts - at the bottom with tendrils of vine, dividing up into stalks, ready to climb...

I have to admit I'm fond of this peapod pattern...  I wasn't sure whether I should make the pods in a cabled fashion, but in the end some natty, and slightly modified, skps did the trick!

But you know?  I think I'm most fond of the calyx cuff.  It's amazing what some twist cables and a little contrasting purling can do!

But really, this is a raised glass to my Dad, in sock form!!

The Peapod Wine Sock is worked from a pea-shoot toe up, with a peapod pattern foot and leg, short-row heel, and a calyx cuff, and you can find the pattern page on Ravelry HERE.  (You don't need to be a member to view the page!)

Or, should you be so inclined, you can just jump straight to buying this little gem by clicking on the button below!  At only €3 ($3.94, £2.37, or ¥410) it's a tipsy garden delight without the weeds, or the hangover!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

There Will Be Blood In The Water...

And The Sharks Will Come!

Oh yes, Iron Man aficionados, Whiplash is HERE!

dun dun duuuuuuuuuuuun
Jennifer at Holiday Yarns approached me a few months ago to create a pattern for her 'Heroes and Villains' sock club, telling me that the villain for May was in sad need of a designer.  Whiplash was mentioned and I had to say yes!

I started without knowing the colour of the yarn, but I knew that I wanted flashes of electricity to feature strongly in the design, as the Whiplash's Energy Whips were an enormous part of his sinister appeal and, let's face it, his ultimate evilness.

:: bzzzzzzzzzzz crackle :: © itgirl
But really, Whiplash isn't Whiplash without the stolen Iron Man Arc Reactor technology.  I decided to place this just at the intersection of the leg to the foot, surrounded by Energy Whip strikes!

as you can see, i can't work a decent yarn-over for toffee
thank goodness for my other testers who make this look AMAZING!
Jennifer worked up one test herself in the Whiplash colourway - an evil concoction of armour and electricity. I suspect it cackles in an evil manner when it's being knit up.  Evil and AWESOME!

© gwynivar
You have 2 options with this pattern - the first, and more importantly the reason for its existence, can be found HERE on the Holiday Yarns Sock Kit page.  Sock and yarn together in one deliciously heinous package.  (I feel a 'MWAHAHAHAHAHAH' needs to be inserted here...)

You can also buy the pattern by itself for only €3.50 from my pattern page on Ravelry (of which you need not be a member to partake) or, if you want an even quicker fix, you can click on the link below!  Simple in its villainousness!  (Totally a word.  That red wavy line only shows that spell-check is scared.)

© itgirl

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Ovens and Banners and Sales, Oh My!

So, my trusty tabletop oven, a little thing of only 20 litres capacity and bought ten years ago in France, has given up the ghost.  Grilled its last tuna melt.  Roasted its last red pepper.  The lamp inside illuminated its final casserole when there were still two zeros in the year, and the glass stopped being completely see-through after The Great Baking Disaster of '11.  But it was loved. And now it is missed.  (Well, I say it's missed, but it's still sitting in the kitchen because I can't bring myself to throw it away.  Yet.  But once it has its replacement, then I will have a teary and fond farewell.)

And so we come to this:

Rather self-explanatory, really.  A third off everything, including the free stuff!  Oh yes!

But not everyone is enticed into partaking of a wonderful sale opportunity by mentioning ovens in the title, so I thought this could be better:

But given the dates for the sale, starting on Valentine's Day, it was perhaps a little too on the innuendo-ey side.  (Which, of course, was fully intended, but still...  Not everyone appreciates a little euphemism with their sales banner.)

A reference to the 'Say It With Flowers' slogan that originated with the UK flower delivery company 'Interflora', but may have been considered too obscure., even though Interflora were taken over by an American company.  (Sobs.)   But better safe than sorry when it comes to intelligible sales banners...

And lastly, a cute banner that suddenly made me think of margarine just as I was setting the final type.

I think I need to get out more...

p.s. click on any banner to take you to the pattern page!!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Lovely Bubbly!

Champagne - the most decadent of alcoholic beverages, and usually so expensive to prohibit it's consumption except in the most celebratory of circumstances.

So until you can get your neck around a glass (or indeed a bowl) of the good stuff, help yourself to some free bubbly socks instead!

champagne tower socks by yours truly
Champagne!  And what's more decadent than a glass of champagne, but many glasses of champagne, of course!

My Champagne Tower Socks are made from the top down, with a short-row heel, and were inspired by watching a 'how do they do that' TV programme that included the proper (or at least a successful) method of pouring champagne down a pyramid of champagne bowls!  I love the idea of champagne and froth carrying on down the sock in luxurious stripes - a gentle froth topping some over-the-top twisted rib - the epitome of luxurious ribbing in my eyes!

I did two versions, one a straight champagne and froth, the second a slightly more frivolous kir royale (crème de cassis, or blackcurrant liqueur and champagne),  

kir royale tower socks
araucania ranco solid in 'PT485'
kartopu kristal in 'white'
but the options are not few - there are a good many cocktails that include champagne that could inspire you to any number of colour combinations!

I think my ultimate favourite champagne cocktail is the Black Velvet - champagne and Guinness.  Delicious!

And how often do you get offered free champagne?  They're just one click away...  Either HERE, which goes straight to the Ravelry pattern page, or...

(It says buy now, but the button just takes you to the paypal download page, but you pay nothing!)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Composition of the Stars

You may have noticed from my last post that I have a new pattern up - the Gold Star For Effort Scarf/Shalwette.  I have to say I'm rather pleased with it, especially as it took a very long time for it to get to its finished state.  Yes, I know - a designer of such simple items is perhaps not supposed to admit to taking months to get from the original concept to the finished item.  I suspect it should appear more like the apocryphal stories about Mozart and his compositional style - where we're led to believe most of his works were written as-is.  No revisions, no piano score to begin with, just pure and utter symphony (for example) in full score first time.  (He did just that, it must be said, for quite a few of his pieces...) 

No, I'm no Mozart of the shawls, I'm afraid, but I am quite interested in reliving the journey my little shawlette took to get from its starting point (from a comment by a Ravelry friend) to its final testing.

I explained in the last post how a comment about my first shawl led eventually to the latest shawl, but I thought it would be interesting to map out the journey in photos...  So here, starting from the first swatch, is a cosmically yarny tale in (mostly) picture form...

1.the confirmation that a chevron stitch creates an
excellent lower edge for a star
2. but the horizontal points at each side are proving
a tad difficult to line up properly
3. but they being to work better in a smaller form...
4. but then all definition is lost through an
overzealous eyelet effort
5. which then changes to an effort at doubling the eyelet
line which leads to a different kind of messiness
6. as does the second effort
7. but eventually the spacing begins to look neater
8. although there are still a few odd eyelets to fix
9. and the placement of a the upper double line to widen
10. there is hope and beads
11. and garter stitch
12. and enough yarn
13. for the finished item
14. which is rather dapper, even if I say so,

Mair Bloag Weejits

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