Monday, April 27, 2009

One For The Boy!

It has been far too long since this boy had a handknit garment from his mum....sure he's had his share of hats and knitted animals but other than that he's only got a scratchy poncho to show for it (which he graciously loves and won't let me recycle even if he can't wear it)!

So I gathered together some of his favourite colours in Cascade 220 and went the stripey route!

The pattern is the Staccato Hoodie from the lovely and talented Kirsten Kapur of throughtheloops. I sort of went with the smallest size and also had a different gauge. I could have made it a little longer and wider in the body but I ended up with using all my yarn with very little left over.
This was also my first hooded and zipped garment!! The sewing in of the zipper had me a little scared (and it didn't help that I started off with a closed zipper-duh) but I'm happy enough with how that part turned out.

Sage is super pleased with it and even though it's mostly too hot to wear in Fresno he'll get to air it at the coast this weekend! Fingers crossed he doesn't get too big for it before the winter season in Massachusetts!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


(imagine the drum roll continuing as you read on)
.... before I announce the winners, I just have to say that I've spent the past week being totally gobsmacked that so many of you left comments. It was so nice to see some of you poke your heads out of the woodwork, albeit with a little enticement! I hope you'll feel more inclined to leave comments in the future as that's the part of blogging I enjoy the most, the feedback! When I can, I respond to each comment I receive (not in the case of the last post obviously)!

I promise that the picking of the winners was done in a fair manner! Maya and Sage were my unbiased name drawers and they had a LOT of fun being VERY dramatic about the whole thing!

I wish I had prizes for you all.....but without further are the winners:

Hap Shawl Book, Yarn and Bag-Melissa!

Moch Cardi Pattern- Katya, C and Yulian

Pride of Carthage-Anonymous Mary
Walk Through Darkness-Lynne S of OZ
Gabriel's Story- Gaea

Please email me your physical addresses (or emails in the case of the Moch Cardi Pattern) so I can send out your prizes.

Congratulations and thanks for taking part everyone!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Happy Blog Day To Me!

My very first post on this blog is dated April 18th 2007 so technically this is my 2nd anniversary with The Shetland Trader! I was quite wet behind the ears when I began my relationship with the blogging world. I had also just had my first design accepted by Looking back I feel like I've accomplished quite a lot since then! I've also connected with some fantastic people many of whom have shared their wisdom and knowledge with me as I struck out on the designing path. I'm so glad to have "met" you all. Keeping this blog helped me through a time when I've been far from some of my nearest and dearest friends and family. So to show my thanks to all who stop by and for the pure fun of it I'm doing an anniversary give away thingy!

First prize - some Shetland goodies:
A copy of the book Shetland Hap Shawls Then and Now by Sharon Miller and enough Jamieson's Yarn (direct from the mill) for you to complete your very own Hap Shawl. I have picked the same colours that I used in the shawl I made for little Daisy last summer (photos of that one below) and a cute tote bag made by phatsheeptextiles in Shetland featuring cute and colourful croft houses.

Next up - Books for all tastes!
For those that don't know, my husband is a novelist with 4 books under his belt so far and another, The Other Lands (Acacia, Book 2), coming in September. He has kindly donated a copy of each (in English) for this giveaway. Each of the books will be given away individually. More info on the titles (with links) below the photo:

About Gabriel's Story (a New York Times Notable Book) Publishers Weekly wrote: "The old West, both beautiful and brutal, is the setting of Durham's magnificently realized debut novel, a classic coming-of-age story of an African-American boy."

Walk Through Darkness (also a New York Times Notable Book), combines aspects of his family's African-American history with my Scottish ancestry. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote: "David Anthony Durham's evocative and finely wrought second novel, Walk Through Darkness resonates with the great American historical irony: Founded in reaction to tyranny, America's habit was slavery and the acceptance of institutionalized racism its denial."

Pride of Carthage tells the story of Hannibal's war with ancient Rome. It's been published in the UK and in eight foreign languages. The Christian Science Monitor called it, "a brilliant exploration of the tension between private destiny and historical force, as full of the sweep of geopolitics as the quiet intimacies of a marriage. He so clearly creates the hopes and fears of these people removed from us by time and culture that we can recognize our tragic, common heritage."

Acacia: The War with the Mein is an epic fantasy set in an alternative world, featuring a multi-racial cast, it's been published in the UK and eight foreign languages, and it got David nominated for the John W Campbell Award. The Washington Post wrote: "From the first pages of Acacia, Durham, a respected historical novelist, demonstrates that he is a master of the fantasy epic. "

Last-but not least, a Shetlandtrader original pattern:
I thought it appropriate to include some of my creativity in this celebration so I will be giving away 3 free copies of my latest self-published pattern Moch Cardi. Please note that this is just the pattern...not a finished cardigan!
To enter please leave a comment on this post with a way for me to easily contact you (no addresses, I'll get them when I pick the winners). This is open to anyone, anywhere. If you want to state a preference for a prize please do so.........No promises but I will try to accommodate where possible. You have until next Friday, the 24th of April to enter!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Some More Solidarity

In the hope of continuing to create some awareness in the internet world about the "do's and don'ts" of pattern use (free and paid for) I'm writing a wee post in support of some fellow bloggers/designers who have spoken up about said topic recently (there are others that have talked about this in the past).

Pam of flintknits, Kate of Zeitgeist and Kate of needled have all blogged about this recently and have been very clear about what aspects of the misuse of their patterns are the most displeasing. If you haven't already I recommend that you read their posts (I have linked to their blogs above).

I am not aware of having as many problems as some designers have had with their free patterns but on reading Pam's post I did do a quick search for some of my free patterns and came across a few things that made me unhappy.

I'm not a very confrontational person and I don't like having to deal with contacting persons who may be violating the copyright on my patterns. I have less of an issue about a LYS using a free pattern without asking (as long as they clearly give me credit for the pattern within the class) although I do appreciate being asked permission as a courtesy (and this has happened for the most part). Not crediting the designer and renaming the pattern is not OK though.

The thing that really does rub me the wrong way is when other people make and then
sell said free pattern under a different name (whether they are selling the actual pattern or making the item and selling the finished product)!! This I don't like to see. I think that often that person may be blissfully unaware that this is a big No No and probably hasn't paid attention to the copyright. I know when I first began blogging I was not as aware as I am now of these issues.

So the point here is to educate the users of free patterns (and other free things on the internet that come with a copyright attached) so that they give credit where it is due and do not abuse the terms of the work being offered for understand, people aren't out to surreptitiously profit from the hard work put out there by so many wonderfully creative people (although some are and that's plain not nice)! FREE! A lot of hard work goes into writing up these patterns and most of the time continued pattern support is given free of charge (designers get many emails asking for help and I for one always respond).

We all want to keep seeing such awesome free patterns out there for our knitting pleasure do we not? Just be sure to keep within the parameters set out in the copyright and if you see someone else abusing these terms of use perhaps offer a friendly reminder not to do so.

I do believe that by having these online discussions we can make some kind of impact. Reading through Pam's comments it is evident that this is the case.

There will be knitting in my next post...promise!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Calico Cat

Looks like sewing will be making it's appearance here on a regular basis now!
Success with my first skirt:

This started out as the pattern for the Smocked Sundress from Weekend Sewing (with the intention of making it a skirt instead). I knew that the largest size would be too small for Maya so I added on some inches to compensate. However it was apparent after the smocking that this would in no way pass as a skirt or dress for my soon to be 10 year old!
After a bit of a panic as to what to do I realized if I just made another panel the same size and sewed the two together I would indeed have a skirt that fit.
So more fabric was ordered (it's Calico Cat -Alexander Henry)......another panel made....and then sewn together. I had left enough room above the smocking to add an elastic waistband casing (directions of which I followed from Sew What!: Skirts)........and ta worked!
I spent all day yesterday admiring my handiwork while Maya pranced happily around in her new attire!

This really was a lot easier than I'd for me next I think!
On a side note I spoke to a dear friend of mine in Massachusetts today and shared my sewing success with her (she knows what my relationship with the sewing machine has been in the past) and she informed me that the author of Sew What!:Skirts has a fabric store in the area and teaches classes!!! I'm now even more excited about returning back East!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Other Creative Endeavours

Along with all the knitting I've been dabbling with some sewing and photography too.....thought I'd share some of that on here!

I recently purchased the much blogged about sewing book "Weekend Sewing" by Heather Ross and the above apron is my first completed project from the book. I really have no sewing background whatsoever and have actually been pretty scared of the sewing machine for a while now! After the success of the wee bag I made a few weeks back I mustered up some confidence and decided to get more adventurous.

I won't pretend that it all went smoothly......because there was plenty of profanity leaving my lips as I wrestled with various aspects of my first proper sewing project......for instance the basting stitch did not work well for me, hems are far from perfect, needles jammed a lot, I cut out the ties wrong and needed to make more (I could go on).....however despite some ugly looking stitches (on the back side) and wobbly lines I am pretty happy with the finished product.

I already have a new stash.....of the fabric many cool ones out there!
Ultimately I'd love to be making more clothing for myself and the up is a skirt for this wonderful Calico Cat fabric.

......and a few shots of my exploration in photoshop ........most of the above have some kind of texture added.....that's my theme this week in my 365 flickr project!
(Bottom picture is us returning from an invigorating 8 mile hike in Sequoia National Park at the weekend)!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Moch.... ready!

An 'aafil boanny' cardigan with flattering lines and an easy Shetland lace featured at the yoke, hem and cuffs.
‘Moch’ means moth and ‘aafil boanny’ very beautiful in Shetland dialect.

This cardigan is worked seamlessly from the bottom up starting with the hem. Sleeves are worked in the rnd separately and then joined to the body at the yoke. The buttonband is worked at the same time as the yoke. Underarm sts are grafted together at the end.

Also included in this pattern:
Table format where you fill in the appropriate numbers for your size.
Notes on sizing and modifications.
Written and charted instructions for the lace yoke.
Detailed instructions on how to work a One Row Buttonhole.

Please note:
As there are 10 sizes in total in this pattern I chose to write the pattern using a table format. I believe this will allow for easier reading of the pattern and avoid long brackets packed with numbers. When you begin the pattern you will fill in the appropriate numbers from the table for your size. Spaces have been provided next to each bold letter in the pattern for your convenience.
I was prompted to implement this after reading a timely discussion about it on Ysolda’s blog. Thanks Ysolda!

v 850(950, 1000, 1075, 1150, 1250, 1300, 1380, 1460, 1530) yrds of DK weight yarn. Shown in Jaggerspun Zephyr-Silk (50% Merino wool/ 50% Tussah Silk), DK weight, 1120 yrds per cone. This yarn can be ordered by the cone and also by 140yrd balls from This is not the laceweight version of this yarn.
v US#6 (or size needed to obtain correct gauge) 32-inch or longer circular needle.
v US#6 set of DPN’s or two US#6 circular needles if you prefer working with two circulars for knitting in the rnd.
v A spare circular needle or set of dpns (US#6 or smaller), stitch holder or waste yarn (for sleeve sts to sit on while working second sleeve).
v US#7 24-inch or 32-inch circular needle (Optional- See under technical notes)
v Row Counter
v Markers
v Tapestry needle
v 4 buttons of 3/4 inch diameter and matching thread.

Suggestions for yarn substitutions:
Wool/silk blends or Alpaca/silk blends in a similar weight and with good stitch definition and drape.

Chest:29.5(32.25, 35, 37.5, 40.25, 43, 45.5, 48.25, 51, 53.5) inches
75(82, 89, 95, 102, 109, 115.5, 122.5, 129.5, 136) cms
Shown in size 35 inch with 1.5 inches of negative ease.

21 sts and 28 rows = 4inches in stockinette st on US#6
5.25 sts per inch, 7 rows per inch