Finding and saving patterns on Ravelry

When our Yarn Doctors are out and about on our stands at craft shows, one of the regular questions that people ask is “where can I find patterns?”.

There are a number of answers including a wide range of knitting and crochet magazines, and browsing the pattern leaflets at your local yarn shop. Your local yarn store owner will no doubt have an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of patterns available, but if you still can’t find what you are looking for, another useful tool is Ravelry.com.

ravelry pattern search

Ravelry, the online knitting and crochet community, has a database with over 400,000 knitting and 200,000 crochet patterns including patterns from books, leaflets and magazines. Most entries include a picture or several, yarn and needles details and where to find the pattern (for example the leaflet number or magazine edition, and whether it is available online).

ravelry pattern searchYou can just browse popular patterns on the site but several hundred thousand options would take a while, so Ravelry has created a range of filters to help you find what you are looking for.

To narrow down you search you can choose different types of pattern in terms of knitting versus crochet, clothing or other projects, size, and yarn weight etc.

You can also choose options such as types of colour work, whether there are lace or cables, and even styles of pattern such as written versus charts.

As you make your choices the range of patterns reduces until you have a manageable number to browse.

You can also use the search box to look for patterns using a particular yarn or brand or from a particular source.

For example in the screengrab below, you can see a search for UK Hand Knitting which has brought up images for our baby patterns. I could further narrow down my search by clicking to only search for patterns using 4ply and including preemie sizes.

ravelry pattern search

I could also have searched for a particular yarn that I have in my stash to find patterns using it.

Once you have picked out a pattern you might want to make, you can save it to your “queue” – a list of patterns you like on your own account, which is very handy because it is easy to find the pattern again. Below I’m saving the particular UK Hand Knitting pattern I want to use  – now I have the details for when I’m ready to buy and use it.

ravelry pattern queue

The queue function also comes in handy when you spot a pattern in a magazine or book, or even in a pattern selection in a shop, that you might want to make in the future.

For example, it can be very frustrating flicking through a pile of magazines trying to remember where you saw that perfect cabled sweater. But if you search for the sweater on Ravelry and add it to your queue it will be much easier to find it in the future (as long as you keep the magazine). And if the pattern isn’t yet in the database, there are straightforward instructions to help you add it so you, and others, can track it down again in the future.

It can take a little bit of organisation to start your queue but once you have it, it is easy to browse all the things you want to knit and find where to access the patterns.

Get involved with our 100 stitch challenge

The hunt for the Nation’s Fastest Knitter kicked off at the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show in Manchester last week.

We had a lot of fun with people seeing how fast they could knit a single row of 100 stitches. It was particularly interesting to see all the variations on knitting technique and had a lot of chats about needle preferences and where to put the yarn.

nations fastest knitter

Most people prefer to make an attempt in knit stitch but one contestant asked to be timed over a purl row as well – turned out she purls much faster than knit.

During the three days we had lots of mini competitions with mothers and daughters comparing times or all the members of a knitting group have a go.

All of which has given us some more ideas about how you can get involved.

As well as coming along to other ICHF Events show – Sewing For Pleasure and Fashion & Embroidery with Hobbycraftsat the NEC Birmingham, 16-19 March and Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show at ExCeL, London, 20-22 April – you can enter online by submitting a link to a video of your attempt. Watch the video below to find out how.

Making a video by yourself might be difficult so why not get friends or members of your knitting group to have a go. You could have a mini contest and help each other make the videos to enter.

Or if you run a local yarn shop you could run your own local contest and encourage your customers to enter videos.

We look forward to hearing about how you get on.

The closing date for online entries is Sunday 2 April 2017.

 

Greenery is the colour…

Every year the colour specialists at Pantone choose their colour of the year which the company says is “a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude”.

greenery-swatch

The Pantone choice is quite influential with lots of stylists and buyers using it in their work and because the people who select it look at lots of sources including the fashion catwalks over the past year.

This year the colour is “Greenery” described as: “A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings. Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew. Illustrative of flourishing foliage and the lushness of the great outdoors, the fortifying attributes of Greenery signals consumers to take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate.”

But don’t despair if green isn’t your thing. Pantone doesn’t expect us all to be clad head to toe in green sitting on green chairs. It produces a page of different colour combinations that work with its chosen colour like this one.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2017-color-palette-1

But to reflect the colour of the year we’ve put together this selection of leafy yarns.

 

Dealing with a knot in your yarn

One of the things that irritates most knitters is finding a knot in their yarn.

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While there may be occasions when you find more than one knot suggesting a problem, in general finding a knot will be a rare happening, however annoying.

Those rare knots are the result of how yarn is produced using long continuous threads. This can be difficult to maintain and occasionally the yarn will break. It will be joined with a small knot to keep the production process going.

This means that once in a while you will come across a knot that needs to be dealt with. If you are knitting stocking stitch with a DK or thicker yarn it may be possible to just keep knitting and ensure the knot sits on the wrong side.

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But if you are working in a textured stitch pattern like in the swatch pictured, or lace, finer yarns and reversible patterns this is not an option. The best option is to cut out the knot and treat the rest of the ball the same way as if you were joining in a new yarn or ball.

If you can it is neatest to make the join at an edge, but if you are working in the round or find the knot half way into a row of 200 stitches, you might not see that as an option. In which case you should stop knitting when there is 10 to 15cm of yarn to the knot. Cut the knot and then leaving another 10cm tail. Knit two or three stitches using both the tail of the “old” yarn and the “new” yarn and then continue using the new yarn only.

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You can weave in the ends after a couple of rows or when you make up the piece.

Another option would be to cut out the knot and split splice your yarn instead of joining in as above.

Whatever approach you take, remember that knots are a rare occurrence and that they shouldn’t spoil you knitting.

How quickly can you knit 100 stitches? Could you be the Nation’s Fastest Knitter

feature17_fastestknitterWe are joining forces with event organisers ICHF to find the Nation’s Fastest Knitter.

The challenge is to knit 100 stitches as quickly as possible. You can use whatever yarn and needles you prefer and choose to knit or purl – it is all about what works for you.
There are two ways to enter.
Firstly, visit the UK Hand Knitting Stand at the following shows:
•   The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycraft Show, Manchester, Event City, Manchester, 2-4 February
•    Sewing For Pleasure and Fashion & Embroidery with Hobbycrafts at the NEC Birmingham, 16-19 March
•    Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show at ExCeL, London, 20-22 April

There, one of the UK Hand Knitting team will time you and record your entry.
We will have yarn and needles standing by for your attempt, but you are permitted to bring your  own favourite set of lucky needles if you wish.
Or you can enter online by submitting a video of you completing the 100 stitches as quickly as possible. We will be able to take your time from the video and verify that you complete 100 stitches.

Or you can enter online by submitting a video of you completing the 100 stitches as quickly as possible. We will be able to take your time from the video and verify that you complete 100 stitches.

Watch our video on entering Nation’s Fastest Knitter and
ensuring you get your best time

To enter the competition please follow these steps:
1. On the video make sure your say “get ready, set, go” before you start knitting.

2. When you finish you 100 stitches pause for a moment before ending your video. This will give us a chance to time you properly

3. Upload your video to social media, eg Facebook, Instagram, your blog, etc, or put it on a cloud file hosting site like dropbox and send us the link to the video for us to watch. We cannot download files because we do not have enough server space.

4. Please include your name, email address and postcode with your entry.
The fastest online entries along with those from the shows will be invited to take part in the grand final taking place at the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts Show in London.
A number of exciting prizes including yarn and other knitting equipment is up for grabs for runners up. The overall winner will take home an exclusive Nation’s Fastest Knitter trophy plus a ‘golden ticket’ giving free access to all ICHF Event’s shows for life.

New year yarn clear out

When we asked on social media if you were planning to make any yarn or crafting-related resolutions for 2017, a number of people mentioned having a stash clear out or tidy.

For me that would produce a lot of orphaned single skeins or balls of yarn left over from projects and a great many more half balls. Usually once I have cleared these into a box or bag, I find myself wondering what to do with them – and I’m sure that other people have had the same problem.

It is easy for your stash to become disorganised over time

To help, UK Hand Knitting will sometimes collect your left over yarn for a charity when we are at a big event, but because we have other things coming up in the next few months we haven’t any plans to do that for while. However, we do have some other ideas for you.

  • Charity knitting groups – you may find that a knitting group near you has a charity project to produce preemie baby hats or squares for blankets and would happily take some yarn off your hands. My last box went to a hospital knitting group making Twiddlemuffs for dementia patients. Check our knitting group directory as a starting point.
  • Schools and Craft Clubs may be interested in receiving yarn to teach kids knitting and other skills. One place to start to find a school or club is via the Craft Council’s Craft Club initiative.
  • Care homes – some care homes have craft activities for residents. Why not contact local homes to see if they are interested in your yarn.
  • Freecycle – I’ve advertised yarn oddments to giveaway in my local freecycle group. Mine went to an art project.
  • Scrapstore – this is an initiative that collects unwanted craft materials from indviduals and businesses and makes them available to schools and voluntary organisations at a fraction of normal costs. Many Scrapstores also have shops open to the public selling high quality art and craft materials from glue to paintbrushes to complement the scrap. There are Scrapstores all over the UK and you can use the organisation’s directory to find your nearest branch.

Wherever you choose to find a home for your excess yarn, it will feel good that it will be used and appreciated by someone else.

 

 

Plan your 2017 knitting and crochet fun

In some jobs it can be quite a good thing to be the person in the office on the days between Christmas and New Year.

You can sort out loose ends from the year, sort out the filing and get your diary organised for the new year.

If you have some down time at home over this period you can apply the same principles to your knitting and crochet pursuits.

You could plan some trips to yarn shows or workshops for the new year. There are already quite a few shows from large multi-craft events to local wool festivals in our 2017 events calendar and plenty of knitting and crochet classes being added to our workshop diary.

yarn event diary

Over the Christmas holidays is also a good time to finish off a few projects (or be brutally honest that some things aren’t going to be finished) and to plan new ones.

The equivalent of sorting out the office filing is to tackle the stack of knitting magazines you have been accumulating over the months. Go through them and identify the patterns you want to make. Some of us are strong willed enough to tear out those patterns to go in a folder and to throw away the rest – or perhaps share the remainder with other people at a knitting group.

organising knitting patterns

Once you have narrowed down your patterns, it can be great fun to go through your stashed yarn to see if you have something suitable. This can of course mean getting out all your yarn to have a look. Matching patterns to yarns and putting them together in a project bag can be very satisfying as you line up a little collection of projects for next year.

Of course you will discover that you don’t have the yarn for all the patterns you’ve saved, but that’s OK because now you have an excuse for a spot of yarn shopping and perhaps some online browsing to narrow down suitable yarns and colours. So it is a win win.