Of clumsiness, Sock Club, VAT, yarn festival and stash management

This blog post should have been written and posted last night. However, my clumsiness and myself have spilled a full cup of coffee over the keyboard of my (up and running) laptop yesterday evening. Intense cleaning, drying of said laptop (and of the living room) ensued. A lot of stress too, as I was not sure whether it would still work after that. This is when you start wondering if the regular back-up actually works as it should… Update this morning: laptop generally works, apart from a few keys on the laptop that don’t respond anymore. Next on my to-do list for today: go and buy an external keyboard because somehow some keys are very useful (directional arrows, number three is entirely gone from both numerical pad and numbers at the top, exclamation mark, etc.) and looking for them each time in the “special characters” map is not the most practical thing to do.


(Please go brew a large pot of tea  — I’m a little cross at coffee for now, see above –, pour yourself a large cup, make yourself comfortable, this is going to be a long post filled with lots of information. Some funny, some not that funny, some useful (hopefully), and some teasing too.)


January? What’s that?

First I would like to apologize for not having been much online, and not on the blog at all for over a full month. Please, be kind to me, January was not the best month ever. We had planned a very long and exhausting road-trip to France (I wouldn’t dare to call that “holidays”), and it was even more exhausting than we had expected. At this point, we know that we won’t do that again… Two weeks after being back home, we are just about recuperating. Exhaustion meant that we also caught all the winter bugs one after the other. Don’t feel sorry for us, we are well and there are lots of more unlucky people than us. I just wanted to let you know that, no, I hadn’t forgotten about the blog!


All Aboard…

January had started very well, though. January 2nd, a very very very nervous me pressed the “Send” button on an email containing the first of the British Scientists and Inventors Sock Club pattern to the lovely people who kindly joined the club. I was even more nervous because the design was a “daring” one, with a very unusual construction. Cuff-down? Toe-up? No… these socks started at the back of the heel!

(Apologies to those of you who did join the club and/or follow the Ravelry group, as this is “old stuff” to you. You may want to skip a couple paragraphs.)

Inspired by the British inventions of the steam locomotive and the railway system, the January socks feature an unusual construction: from the heel, down the foot, then back up the leg! Joy did a fantastic job at dyeing these, in a lovely grey/blue which seems to change colour depending on the light, and which she aptly named “Moving Forward”.

All Aboard - Drawing ©Aurelie Colas - 2014-2015

All Aboard – Inspiration Drawing
©Aurelie Colas – 2014-2015

Can you see a sock? That’s how the January sock appeared in my mind…

Let’s get on tracks! All aboard!!! Puff-Puff-Puff…

All Aboard - Puff Puff Puff... ©Aurelie Colas - 2014-2015

All Aboard – Puff Puff Puff… ©Aurelie Colas – 2014-2015

Yes! There is a track train running all around your heel, passing by the coal pit on the instep, and going straight to the buffers at the station. And puffing smoke going up the leg. I had fun creating this design, and I am delighted with the warm welcome that it has received. At this point, at least four club members have already finished their pair of socks. I love seeing the finished socks choo-choo-ing to the station. Thank you to all of you who share updates, photos, comments on your project pages and/or in The Auld Woolly Alliance group on Ravelry. It is really very lovely.

All Aboard - Puff Puff Puff  ©Aurelie Colas - 2014-2015

All Aboard – Puff Puff Puff
©Aurelie Colas – 2014-2015


British Scientists and Inventors Sock Club - eBook Cover  ©Aurelie Colas - 2014-2015

British Scientists and Inventors Sock Club – eBook Cover
©Aurelie Colas – 2014-2015

And since I am writing about the Sock Club… I would like to share this little eBook cover that I created for the Sock Club on Ravelry (any geeks out there? :P )

While I write these words, the sign-ups for March are probably about to close on The Knitting Goddess website. I am so behind that I didn’t get to write a post in time to remind you of it. I am really sorry. To those who were a little on the fence as to whether to join or not, I wanted to say that not all socks will feature an unusual construction, but I will always try to add a little unique-ness to the design. The unique construction of the All Aboard socks all happened because I really really wanted the train tracks to travel all around the heel! I can already tell you that the March design is not about train tracks :)

I also got some questions about whether or not the club designs will be released independently and/or in an ebook after the exclusivity period is over. Yes, I will put together an eBook with all patterns in the club. As they become available to non-club members, I will put the single patterns for sale independently. I will also create an ebook that you can buy early on, and to which the designs will be added when the 3-month club exclusivity elapses. So, in April when the January pattern can be released to non-club members, one will be able to buy the All Aboard socks on their own, or the eBook which, at this point will only contain the January socks. Note that you will then know what the March socks are, but these will be added to the non-club ebook in June, etc. Any question, please ask away.


Have you heard of the new EU VAT rules?

I will spare you personal ideas about the EU and their regulations, and you may know about all the VAT issue already, but for those of you who don’t, I thought you ought to know about the new EU VAT rules, and that they are (sadly) affecting micro businesses like ours.

A lot of talented people out there have written excellent posts about it, and you can find more information for instance on these blogs / websites (among many others ):

Over the last few weeks of December 2014, Ravelry and LoveKnitting (a large online UK yarn store who have recently moved into selling digital patterns) have paired up to make this new regulation a little less painful for knitting designers like us. You can read more about this here on Ravelry.

For the moment, Janice and I have both decided to join the Ravelry+LoveKnitting option. What it means practically is that all EU-based customers (except UK-based) will be routed through LoveKnitting when purchasing patterns from our stores. As defined now, the new EU law excludes any threshold which was protecting micro-businesses like ours. It means that, unfortunately, EU-based customers (except UK-based) will also have to pay local VAT on their knitting pattern purchase.

Please rest assured that I will look into any sustainable solution that provides the same price for all customers. In the meantime, I hope this situation won’t deter you from supporting us, and all other independent designers in the same situation.

Important note: the Ravelry+LoveKnitting option does not currently support eBooks, and may also cause issues upon releases of new designs, as it can take a while for patterns to appear on the LoveKnitting website. This is far from ideal, and I hope it gets resolved soon. In the meantime, please contact me via pm on Ravelry or email should you be in the EU (non-UK based) and wish to purchase an eBook from my store for instance.



Back to more cheerful things… Edinburgh Yarn Festival: are you going?

… Because we are!

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday 14-15 March in the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. Janice and I will be attending both days, and at this point, have booked our accommodation and transport! We are so organised, it’s almost scary.

Are any of you going too? Would you like to meet up? We will be arriving on Friday night, and I will have Little Miss with me. Both Janice and I will be attending a class, and we are very much looking forward to them. I will be attending the much in-demand workshop by Ysolda Teague on garment fitting on Sunday morning. And Janice is looking forward to trying knitting with a knitting belt in the workshop held by the famous Hazel Tindall from Shetland. I told you we were organised!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival -- We're going!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival — We’re going!


Use your Stash…. Ready, Set, Bingo!

Speaking about organisation, I guess I should tell you a little about my new plan with regards to tackling (part of my rather large) yarn stash. I am not calling it a New Year resolution, because it’s the best way for me to bet set for failure…

It all started in a group on Ravelry where I feel quite at home: the Stash and Burn Listeners group. A couple years ago, the Use It or Lose It challenge (UILI) was launched to help us yarn addicts enthusiasts reconsider some items in our stash. The challenge has evolved over time, and as our yarn buying habits or relationship to our stash changed. Not long ago, a few of us UILI-ers were discussing what to do for this year. I suggested using a Bingo card, and making our own challenges from there.

The idea has grown from there, and UILI 2015 will be Bingo-card based. No hard rules. Anyone can make their own card and their own challenges should they wish to. I have put together a Bingo card that I plan on using for February (this is the link to the Word doc), and may tweak it for subsequent months. Would you like to join in? You don’t have to use the exact same card, you can change a few things, modify a category, make yourself a joker/wild card, etc. Make the challenge your own, give yourself a goal for this month, or for this quarter, etc.


No hard rules like I said. At this point there are no prizes, except if you want to treat yourself: for instance, treat yourself to a new pattern or some fine chocolate if you manage a Bingo, indulge on a project bag if you fill in the card, or tick all cells in a colour, etc… Be creative! Make it yours!

Want to play along? Have any questions? Ask away, either here in a comment, or even better: in The Auld Woolly Alliance group!

Note: This is not to say that I am not going to buy yarn. No. It is about appreciating what I have in my cupboard(s) too!


Phew, that was a long post… Thanks for reading this far.

Now, let’s forget about January. I declare February 1st the new start of 2015. Happy Redefined Year to you all.


Woolly yours,
Clumsy-Aurelie / spinnygonzalez

Posted in Community, Design, Edinburgh Yarn Festival, General, Knit-Along, Knitting, Sock Club, Socks, The Auld Woolly Alliance Group | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Is it really 2015?

Happy New Year! How nice to see so many of you joining The Auld Woolly Alliance for another year.  The last 12 months brought a few new friends to our pages. Welcome on board everyone and thank you, from both of us, we hope you enjoy all we have to share in 2015.

Aurelie's Gift-a-Long Collage - A selection of participating patterns

Aurelie’s Gift-a-Long Collage and some special moments too x

It has been quite a year……let me explain. 2014 has brought success, recognition, a house move, a new addition, plus many busy, happy and proud events to Aurelie and her family. I know you will join me in wishing them all the best for 2015!

For myself, 2014 brought new workshops, a few new designs, a ‘big 5O’ birthday and a lot of change in family life.

Although it has been an enjoyable and busy year. As a family we decided it was essential for me to have some ‘time out’. I will be having a break from teaching for the next six months. The result of this may be some new topics appearing on The Auld Woolly Alliance pages. Possibly more related to house renovation than knitting, so I do hope I do not bore you……..too much!

My aim is to continue with a little designing during this ‘sabbatical’ period. I can’t quite believe another year past and once again…..I am way off my planned designing schedule! Surprised? I think not!

On a very positive note, it is with great relief pleasure I would like to announce the long-awaited release of Meredith, my first design of 2015! (I am, of course, choosing to ignore the fact that all the work, testing, etc was done in 2014!)

Meredith Sampler Cowl is a brioche design, and hopefully will be one of a collection of brioche patterns to come off my needles. (During the next 50 years!) I would also like to thank my talented daughter Jenny  for her fantastic photography, along with her good friend Lucinda, the most beautiful model. Together they helped make my little cowl look extra special!

Meredith A

Meredith Sampler Cowl

Having now welcomed in another New Year with the Woolly Alliance,  I will sign out and leave you all to get on with your knitting and your many resolutions for 2015. (If you were daft enough to make any?)

Along with my annual resolution of getting fit and loosing weight…ha, ha, ha! This year I added to my list:

Finish all WIP’s before casting on anything new (designing not included)…….I will keep you posted with this one…..wish me luck!

Posted in Design, Knitting, Ravelry, Review, Uncategorized, Workshop | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Random Thoughts, Good Wishes and a Self-Indulgent KAL

Pretty Fuzzy Christmas Bauble Cocoon - Aurelie Colas

Pretty Fuzzy Christmas Bauble Cocoon – Aurelie Colas

Dear all,

It is this time of the year again when everything seems hectic, when everyone seems to be transformed into busy bees which have only one goal: bringing back home as many toys and as much food as possible. It’s not my favourite time of the year, to be honest, and I’d rather be knitting… (I know, I’m a grumpy old woman already, and I’m not quite 30 yet).

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve tried to be a good little elf, wrapped a few presents (and have another few to wrap), and knitted a couple things (including a couple Pretty Fuzzy Christmas Bauble Cocoon as gifts). Today I’ve even remembered to mop the floor so that, when pictures are taken tomorrow of busy little people unwrapping presents, I shouldn’t feel too ashamed of the state of my house. This afternoon, as I am sitting in a quiet house, with only the noise of the bread machine in the background, I am trying to put a few sentences together for you. Granted, I will need to write again before or after the New Year, with a more elaborate plan, because today, “random thoughts” could be the title of this post.

Abate - Almost done!

Abate – Almost done!

Knitting-wise, I’ve been very busy recently. Mostly, I have been knitting from other designer’s patterns. The gift-along gave me a good excuse to indulge on some patterns and add them to my library. I have already started and completed 6 projects just as part of the Gift-Along (so, starting mid-November), and the 7th just need another 5 rows on the cuff of the second sleeve, and bind off. It’s a jumper for the Little Man, and my job for today is to finish it (Abate, by Alicia Plummer). I think the Little Man is planning on wearing it as soon as it’s off my needles. You see, it’s a green jumper! What could be more perfect? (yes I know, I should add a pocket to make it even more perfect! But it’s greeeeeen!) So knitting these last few rows is what I will be doing as soon as I finish writing this post.

As for new and upcoming designs, the past weeks have been quite exciting, as I swatched (!), designed, knitted, re-knitted, wrote the pattern, re-re-knitted, re-wrote the pattern for the first installment of the Knitting Goddess Sock Club. I’m knitting the second sock at the moment, so final pictures can be taken soon hopefully. The only thing I can tell you about it is that I’m really proud of it, and of what my little brain put together. And a little scared too as to what the lovely people who bought the club will think. Just under 10 days left before I/they find out…

But today is Christmas Eve, and our job for today will be to entertain the Little Man enough so he doesn’t ask every two minutes when Santa arrives. I suspect tonight will be an interesting evening, with a little person getting up now and again to check under the tree… It doesn’t make the elves job very easy! But we’ll see. It’s a lovely age though, when they are waiting for Santa, and yet, one could see the cogs in their brain as they ask questions like “how many Santas are there? Because we’ve seen Santa four times, and he doesn’t look like the same”.

Hence the question: why are we lying to our dear little people? What does it say of us? I guess I should stop thinking, and get back to my knitting… I told you I was a grumpy old woman.

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

On a higher note, tomorrow, a few of us will be casting on The Woodcarving. Enjoying the quiet time after the rush of the runner up for Christmas, in a comfy chair, with a cosy blanket and hot cup of coffee or tea, and yummy yarn and a lovely design (if I may say so myself). Anyone is of course very welcome to join at any time. The Knit-Along is aptly name “self-indulgent knit-along”. You will find more information (and chatter) in this thread on our Ravelry group.

I will knit-along too with some very special yarn, handspun for me by one of my lovely testers. Grab a comfy chair, and join in!

Hanspun, to knit another pair of The Woodcarving

Hanspun, to knit another pair of The Woodcarving

In the meantime, I hope you have a lovely time, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. And if, like me, you are not found of the madness, I hope you can have some quiet time. Don’t forget to keep some time for yourself too, with a cup of coffee and a little bit of knitting.

Take care,

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez

Posted in Child, Christmas, Design, Knit-Along, Knitting, Sock Club, The Auld Woolly Alliance Group | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Allow us to introduce….. Maylin, of Tri’Coterie Designs

The Woolly Alliance has been full of Christmas spirit recently, mainly due to our involvement in the Indie Designers Gift-a-long 2014. Aurelie has been very busy behind the scenes too………and I have been hiding. (such is my nature!)

Tri’Coterie Design  Sock MCN HighTwist © sweetp

Today I have come out of hiding to share something exciting. As part of the Gift-a-long, I have been lucky enough to interview Maylin of Tri’Coterie Designs. Maylin is first and foremost an indie yarn dyer, but she also enjoys knitting, spinning, crochet, and as her Ravelry profile tells us she is also very good at daydreaming, and spending too much time on the computer! You see….just an ordinary lady loving all the things that we love too.

However, I urge you to read on as Maylin is anything but ordinary! In 2003, Maylin opted out of the rat race, leaving the UK to live life in Couesmes-Vauce, Pays de la Loire, France. A very radical move, and one I suspect many of us dream of but lack the bravery to carry out! Living in a complex of 3 yurts with adjoining huts and sheds Maylin puts her many talents to good use, in particular with yarn and colour…….(I can feel a purchase coming on!!!)

Tri’Coterie Design   Lace Merino Silk 600 © maylin

So, now that you know a little of Maylin the dyer, let me tell you something of Maylin the knit designer.

There are very few indie designers who can claim to have produced a design so popular that since its publication over 10,000 projects have been created and displayed through the pages of Ravelry.

But, what do you know folks?  Maylin of Tri’Coterie Designs is one of them!

The original Wingspan

Wingspan has become one of those iconic designs which has been knit, improvised and adapted by crafters worldwide.

I had many questions to ask Maylin,  and was rather selfish in my choice. (i.e. thinking only of my own intrigue) Nevertheless, I am sure you will enjoy this small insight into the word of Tri’Coterie Designs, so let me get down to that interview…..

Janice: Wingspan is one of Ravelry’s most popular designs, when the original was on your needles did you have any inclination you had hit on something very special? 

Maylin: Not at all! I was in a panic as I was doing a Yarn Club based on Angels. Three of us were doing the designs and I was dyeing the yarn. I had gone through so many ideas – I knew I wanted a wing shape and kept doodling Curves of Pursuit. It must have been working in my subconscious because I woke up in the wee small hours at virtually the deadline. I started cutting out triangles and moving them around. I got the shape I wanted and started knitting straight away. It flew off the needles. I think my main emotion was utter relief 

What I really wasn’t expecting was all the beautiful interpretations that people have done – so much better than my original. In particular the German Swing Knitters have some gorgeous examples. 

Below are a few of the many beautiful projects inspired by Maylin’s original Wingspan.

© LanArta

Janice: What came first your love of knit or your love of dyeing? 

Maylin: Knitting then spinning then dyeing. 

Janice: Who was responsible for creating your interest in all things fibre related? 

Maylin: My mother was a knitter but it was back in the 50s and very utilitarian knits.

I caught the bug when I saw a stand of Colinette yarn in Convent Garden. The texture and colours mesmerised me. I had to have some. It was my birthday and my brother bought me a sweaters worth. With 10mm needles I knit my first FO – a very lopsided cardigan in Red Parrot yarn which I wore to death. I still have salvaged yarn from that cardigan which I have earmarked for some felted slippers one day. 

Tri’Coterie Sock Merino 75 SW (self-striping) © maylin

Janice: Can you describe a typical work day in the dyeing yurt? 

Maylin: Unless I am nearing deadlines it doesn’t feel like work. There are so many processes from finding the inspirations, playing with the colours as if they were watercolours in a sketch pad doing the math to work out how it will knit up and the actual dyeing. These are the fun parts. Not so much fun is the prep work, tying skeins, reskeining, knitting panels, unknitting panels, steaming, washing, washing, washing, labelling, parceling etc. A typical day would include all of this. I touch base most days with my co-conspirator, Gabriella Henry, the New Zealand designer of Sweetp Knits. She does nearly all the admin, customer relations, organising Clubs etc. Without her I would be a disorganised mess. 

Now I have a purpose-built workshop I often have friends round to do crafty things – dyeing, knitting and nuno felting more recently.

Cheetahs © maylin Tri’Coterie Designs

Janice: You describe your inspiration as coming from fantasy themes, such as vampire lore and areas of the paranormal. Could you give us a little more? Are these ideas ‘in your head’, from the pages of books, internet sites….I am intrigued? 

Maylin: They are mostly from books, TV and films. This is where I make the embarrassing confession that it all started with Twilight… I had been dyeing for some years before I become enmeshed in the Twilight Fanfiction Community (specifically the Unicorns Unlimited Group on Ravelry.) A few of us started dyeing yarn inspired by characters. As time has moved on this has become more general but I still find it a great starting point for visualising colours. I also like to time colours to coincide with events – like the Hunger Games films or a new season of Game of Thrones. One of my most popular colours is Daenerys, Mother of Dragons from GoT. This is a good example of how the inspiration works. Her colouring (distinctive to her family) is described as silver-haired and violet eyed and the yarn is 2 shades of grey and violet.

Janice: What are your daydreams for 2015?

Maylin: Health has been an issue in 2014 but I am hoping for improvements this year which will enable me to work more. I love to collaborate and have a few designers I will be collaborating with this year both with yarn support and with designs. My head is bursting with design ideas waiting to come out. They still wake me up in the middle of the night! 

I also want to do a couple of indigo dyeing workshops with friends and possibly add indigo dyed yarn as a regular thing for sale.

Thank you Maylin for taking the time to answer my questions. I have thoroughly enjoyed my escapade into journalism and would like to leave you with my favourite quirky design from Maylin. Steam Punk Mini Topper is now available as a free download. This felted hat was an exclusive to Tri’Coterie’s Tinker, Knitter, Octopod yarn club…… I think it would suit Wee Black Faced Sheep very well! Perhaps a sophisticated addition to his Leprechaun outfit? What do you think??






Posted in Christmas, Crochet, Design, Festive, France, General, Gift, Irish traditions, Knit-Along, Knitting, Ravelry, Review, Spinning, Toy, Uncategorized, Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Indie Design Gift-Along: Chevrons everywhere

(Following up on last “Indie Design Gift-Along”-focused post… here is another post with lots of pretty pictures…)

Chevrons, I Love Chevrons!

The other day, as I was browsing patterns from participating designers, I kept on day-dreaming of knitting all these lovely colourful patterns. It took me a while to realise that, for many of them, they had one thing in common: they were featuring chevrons!

And then, I looked down at what I was knitting on… and guess what, I was knitting chevrons too!

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

… Yes! On the palm-side of The Woodcarving mittens! Chevrons!!! Aren’t they pretty?
(about the Woodcarving, if you haven’t already, remember that you have until this coming Sunday to redeem your coupon code…)

Apparently, I’m in love with these fun zigzags. And my goal today is to enthuse you over chevrons too!

Chevrons! Chevrons Everywhere!

There is a designer out there who always surprises me with her creativity, original constructions, and sense of humour: Lee Meredith, also known as leethal, has a very unique style. In particular, I am in love with one of her recent collections: “Color by Number”, which contains the fun colourful and “chevron”-ful Color by Number Chevrons Cowl

Color by Number Chevrons Cowl by Lee Meredith

Another design that called my name is Meridith Shepherd’s Color Infusion. The two sided cowl, with two layers of stranded knitting contrasting each other, makes for a striking piece. The colour combination is perfect: bold on one side, more tamed on the other. I would love to cast on this one in the near future!

Color Infusion by Meridith Shepherd

Sophisticated as usual, Alex Tinsley put together in a very pretty cowl the two colours which I can’t resist as a duo: grey and yellow. Her Chevzam is absolutely lovely. And the photography is perfect as always!

Chevzam by Alex Tinsley

More chevrons, and yet another cowl, perfect for these special left-overs which may be lingering about in your stash, Laura Aylor’s Aftermath is simple, yet effective. Knitted in a tube grafted together, it should be a rather quick knit!

Aftermath by Laura Aylor

After so many cowls, I would like to share with you a couple hats, which use different techniques to create the chevrons. First, “vertical” chevrons, a little like my mitts, but constructed totally differently: Roman Hills by Andi Smith is stunning, especially with a variegated background, don’t you think?

Roman Hills by Andi Smith

Finally, the creative use of the slipped-stitches in Mimizan, by Tess Young, makes for a very cool hat! I love it! (… and I’ve been to Mimizan too!)

Mimizan by Tess Young

So… are you a chevron-convert now?

Posted in Design, Gift, Knit-Along, Knitting | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Woodcarving

In my last post, I teased you a little with a “moody” picture of a lonely mitten. Now, I am delighted to share with you a few photos full of sunshine of a colourful pair of mittens. And I must say, I’m rather proud of these!

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

Below is the little blurb I put together to tell you about the inspiration behind the mittens…

Inside Castle Fraser (Scotland) is a little room, with a woodcarving of a standard-bearer sheep in a recess on the wall. Of French origins, the Fraser family descends from continental settlers, as part of the Norman infiltration in the 12th century. This Scottish standard-bearer sheep is strangely similar to the emblem of the large city of Rouen, in Normandy (France).

These cosy mittens link both sheep, as they face each other and proudly stand on the back of the hand. Stranded throughout, with a thin knitted lining, The Woodcarving mittens are worked with Shetland wool, as a nod to the French standard-bearer sheep, symbol of the guild of drapers and woollen cloth traders.

Intriguing, don’t you think?

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

The outer shell is knitted with 12 lovely colours from the Jamieson’s of Shetland Shetland Spindrift amazing range of colours. The lining is knitted with one colour of the Jamieson’s Ultra (laceweight) for added warmth and cosiness. Should the 12 colours scare you, don’t hesitate to substitute them for a single foreground colour, a single background colour, and a touch of contrast on the braids! Gradients (especially handspun!) look really lovely too…

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas

Should you want to knit a pair of these special mittens, for you, or as a gift for a loved one, you can find the pattern for sale on Ravelry here. To thank you for reading our blog and bearing with my multiple digressions, please enjoy 20% off with the code blogreader (valid until Dec 7th).

Many thanks, and happy knitting!

Aurelie / spinnygonzalez


PS: Did you notice the disappearing cookie? That’s the fate of the Little Man.
PPS: And yes, of course this coffee was all mine! :)

The Woodcarving - ©Aurelie Colas

The Woodcarving – ©Aurelie Colas


Posted in British Yarn, Design, Knitting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Indie Design Gift-Along: Baby and Children “coups de coeur”

(Following up on Janice’s post… here is a post with lots of pretty pictures. And a little bit of the Castle Fraser mystery unveiled…)

Knit and win prizes!

The Indie Design Gift-along is going strong. The opening sale has ended, but most of the festivities are still ahead! There are still hundreds and hundreds of prizes to be won. To participate, just hop over in the Gift-along threads, play in one of the many games, knit along, or just chat and have fun.

All our paid-for patterns are eligible for prizes in the knit-along. As long as you cast on after Nov 13th, and bind off before Dec 31st, you’re good! Post pictures of your finished object, and you get an entry in the big prizes draw. Post pictures of your WIPs, chat along, and it gives you as many chances to be picked at random for even more prizes.

While I participate as a designer and am also a moderator in two of the KALs (all Hats and Head things, all Mitts and Hand things), I am also participating as a knitter. Mostly, I have decided to use my “free time” to knit for my little ones, using some lovely patterns from the participating designers. While browsing designers catalogs of self-published patterns, I kept adding lovely patterns to my knitting queue (and to my library!). Some of the patterns were already on my bookshelves or my digital shelves, and browsing through them reminded me how much I would like to cast on and knit all the things now-now-now.

Pre-blocking, just off the needles, my "Biscuit Milo"

Pre-blocking, just off the needles, my “Biscuit Milo”

One pattern has already made it to my needles, and is finished and blocking right now! And it even enabled me to win a prize (a coupon code for a free pattern) as I posted a progress picture a couple days ago. Isn’t it great?

Because there is no reason why I should suffer from this cast-on-itis alone, I will share with you some of my favourites. And today, I will focus on Baby and Children pretties, since it’s what is on (and off!) my needles at the moment, and at the top of my knitting queue!


My Baby and Children “coups de coeur”:

There are a few patterns on Ravelry that seem to have been knitted by virtually every knitter but me. Milo was one of them… Designed by Georgie Hallam, it is a little vest sized from newborn to 6yo, with a simple garter raglan yoke, and a boxy body with a cable on one side. A very very quick knit, versatile and unisex. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t knitted one already… so I started a Milo 4 days ago, and finished it yesterday. It’s now blocking and it should be just the right size for the Little Miss over the winter months.

Milo – © Georgie Hallam

Next on my needles for the Little Miss is the cutest little dress ever: Summer into Fall. The only reason it has not jumped the queue and is not yet on my needles is that I need to make a swatch… This cute dress is the latest child design from Lisa Chemery, and I can’t wait to knit it!

Summer into Fall – © Lisa Chemery

When I finish Summer into Fall, it will be hard to resist casting on another of Lisa’s designs: Entrechat. This is the cutest bolero, available in many sizes, from baby to child. I would love to have the time to knit a child version for a little girl I know. And Little Miss is likely to have an Entrechat in her wardrobe very soon too!

Entrechat – © Lisa Chemery

As for the Little Man, don’t worry: he will also have an expanded wardrobe thanks to the Gift along! Next on my needles for him is an Abate by Alicia Plummer: a modern looking jumper, very roomy with deep ribbing, which will hopefully grow with him. The collar is very fun too!

Abate – © AliciaPlum

When I need a break from all these little garments, I plan to cast on for an Howlcat (or three), by Alex Tinsley. In my knitting dreams, I would have time to knit one for the Little Man, one for my brother, one for me, and perhaps another couple more… Howlcat is the simplest knit ever, perfect mindless knitting, with a striking result thanks to a little twist of creativity: it transforms from a cowl to a hat, and back to a cowl… It looks like a great knit too for the non-knitty people.

Howlcat – © Vivian Aubrey

Not too sure yet whether I would like to knit the garment I’m listing below for the Little Man or for Little Miss, or for both of them… Inspired by the lovely drawings from William Morris, the very talented Ann Kingstone recently published the most adorable bunny jumper: Sweet William. Perhaps I should just knit it for me, as it also comes in adult sizes!

Sweet William – © Ann Kingstone

A simple (but effective) looking design is Vikki Bird’s Fluffy White Clouds. I like the candid look of the blanket, perfect for a young child, and like an invitation to dream and sleep happily. For the intarsia lovers among you, have a look at Vikki’s work, for lots of cute designs for little ones.

Fluffy White Clouds – © Practical Publishing

Perhaps it’s because I am in a blue phase. Perhaps it’s the cute braid. Perhaps it’s the big pompom… but I love the look of Watkins, by Aimee Alexander. Should I knit one for the Little Man, for one of his friends, or… for me?

Watkins – © getknitty

Finally, there is a collection of hat which brings me a smile every time I look at it. The idea behind the collection and the creativity of the designer are fantastic. Have a look at Paper Hats, by Amy van de Laar. Paper Crown is probably my favourite of the 5 hats, but they all are cute!

Paper Hats – © Amy van de Laar

Aren’t they cute designs? Do you understand now why I want to knit ALL THE THINGS???


There is something else I am working on. Do you remember the Castle Fraser throughout the Year collection?

I have spent a large part of my knitting and designing time recently on the third design in the collection, which I teased you not long ago with a photo of the finished item inside-out.

I am now confident that this design, of which I am quite proud, will be released really soon. I have yet to have decent pictures taken, which can be a challenge this season in our little corner of the world, but I am confident. Just need to wait another week or two.

For those of you who would like to see more of it, look below… If you don’t, close your eyes now :)


© Aurelie Colas

© Aurelie Colas

Yes, it’s a mitten. Fully stranded. And lined. With braids. And many colours. I love it.


PS: Yesterday, I made my grand debuts on Twitter. Don’t laugh. I’m too old for these things! If you want to say hi, or see what I’m up to (for when I figure out how it works, you know…), I’m @spinnygonzalez there.


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