Border For Front Neck And Straps

Usingyarn B, work 110 (115:115:120) ch sts, now work 51 (61:61:71) si sts along the neckline edge

Next row Work 134 (144:144:154} dc, 3 dc tog, work 134 (144:144; 154} dc.

Cont in dcfor 3 (3:5:5} more rows, each time working 3 dc tog at centre of row to form the V.

Fasten off.

BORDER FOR BACK AND STRAPS:

Usingyarn B, work 135 (140; 140; 145) ch sts, work 130 (140:160; 170) si sts across the arm hole and back edges, then work 135 (140:140; 145} ch StS. [400 (420:440; 460) sts] Work in dc (st over stjfor 4 (4:6; 6) rows. Fasten off.

Sew u p the side sea ms.

Sew the straps on the neck border to the back, 6% (6y,:8:8)in, 16 (16; 20; 20)cm apart. Cross the other straps at the back and sew the ends in place, inside the other straps and 4V, (4%; 6%: 6%) in, 12 (12; 16; 16)cm apart (see photo).

To make the next and fallowing rows of tr, turn work and 3 ch. This is the t-ch and counts as the first treble in a new row. Skip the first stitch at the base of the t-ch, work ltr into top 2 loopsof 2nd stitch in previous row. Work ltr into next and each st to end, including into top of t-ch.

TREBLE CROCHET

This stitch forms part of the repeat pattern in this top.

Make a foundation chain. Skip 3ch, yrh, and insert the hook under the top loop of the 4th ch, yrh.
Pull the yam through the ch loop only (3 loops on hook), yrh.
only [2 loops on hook), yrh. Pull the yarn through these 2 loops. You've made a treble crochet. Continue working tr into next and all following chains to end of the row.

Pattern Info

Abbreviations ch/chst chain/chainstrtch Ip bop tr treble crochet dc doublecrochet slst slip stitch tog together 3dctog leavinglastlpofeachst on hook, work 3 incomplete dcthenyo andthrougha!l4 remaining Ips at once.

FRONT & BACK

Meek decreases

Armhole decreases decrease by 1 half-molif

Pattern stitch

AvW/n fvxtt

decrease by 1 half-motif

Chart key

OCO chain stitch

--singlecrochet

• slipstitch

wrrtingthe |

Combine crochet and knitting next issue in 3 delightful little matinée jacket. Issue 59 is on sale Thursday 10 September 2009.

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Shop online or by telephone www. theyarn ba mltd. co. uk i [email protected] barn ltd. co.uk

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Stockists of Matabrigo . Cascade. Peaches & Creme. K/iitpro. Ñamaste - Moro Debbie Bliss. Moro .Artesano . Manos. Cofinette And tonnes of uk Independent dyers I

Knit all these patterns for less!

Save 10% off both , Artesano yarns

Save 10% on both the Artesano Hummingbird and Artesano 100% Alpaca 4ply for this top and bag at r Woolly Workshop. Visit www, woollyworkshop.co.uk or call 01327 352997 and quote offer code SK58.

You can crochet this glamorous top for 10% less ifyou order the Gergere de France Sirene from InToKnit, Visit www.intoknit.co uk or call 0845 S3S3 762 and quote order code SK2474.

Save 10% off Sublime Organic Cotton DK

Loop is offering Simply Knitting readers 10% offtheyarnforthis pretty cap-sleeved top. Visit www. loopknitting.com or call 020 7288 1160 or visit Loop's shop at 41 Cross Street, Islington, London and q uote Simply Knitting,

Tuition fromTracy and Sasha meant the students went home with top specialist knowledge.

Concentrated time to spend knitting is a rare treat.

rnin yxmt

Tutors Sasha Kagan and Tracy Chapman joined 2C knitters in south-west France. Olivia Gordon reports.

asha Kagan has the twinkliest eyes ever. When she walks into the dining room on the first nightofthe knitting retreat, there's a palpable ripple of excitement amongthe students -Sasha Kagan, one ofthe most famous knitting designers of her generation, is here, and she's sitting next to usl

On the course at Le Vieux Monastère, students and teachers spend each day in workshops or on excursions together. Caron Johnson, a directorofTheYam Barn (who sponsored the course, providing most ofthe materials and gift packs for the lucky guests), acted as 'workshop angel', always on hand to help.

Sasha, often dressed in her own sweater designs, comes across as a true artist who lives and breathes a passion for textiles and nature. Clearly visible beneath her chatty exterior is a strong, charismatic woman who knows exactly what she wants to doand how she wants to do it, Sasha is known for her graphic use of colour and texture. She explains, "I started off influenced by the Fair Isle sweaters ofthe 1940s, but then I had a lightbulh moment and realised I could put whatever I wanted on graph paper." That's when she created her signature look of naturalistic flowersand leaves, based on the plants she spots around her home in Llanidloes, in Powys.

Artistic beginnings

Sasha studied painting and printmaking, but she was always interested in textiles. "I have textiles in my blood, hut I never thought I would make a career of it-my father was a linguist and it was assumed I would follow in his footsteps," she says. "Yet my grandmotherearned her living as a dressmaker and my mother

Tuition fromTracy and Sasha meant the students went home with top specialist knowledge.

was a good dressmaker, knitter and lampshade maker and, heingan èrily child, Iwas veryinfluenced by her."

Sasha's knitting career began in 1971, when a friend suggested she show lier knitwear to boutique Browns in London. They gave Sasha herfirst order,for sixtank tops. She realised she couldn't meet the deadline alone, so she put an ad in the local post office for knitters to help.

This cottage industry she had started grew, and soon Sasha was producing everything from outfits forCagneyand Laceyto sweaters for sale in chic New York department stores. In 2000, her work was exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

These days, Sasha is busy doingdesign work, bringing out books and teaching. "I like to pass onthejoy I feel in making things to other people- I'm very keen to keep knitting and crochet alive and I lovetravellingto places like te Vieux Monastère," she says. "It's very peaceful here, almost like a second home, and a week's retreat meansyou can get stuck into some interesting work."

A different path

For Rowan consultant Tracy Chapman, too, regular knitting teaching goes alongside

Concentrated time to spend knitting is a rare treat.

designing (in hercase, often costumes fortheatre productions) and bespoke commissions. She lives in a Hampshire village a couple of minutes' walk from the beach, where she regularly knits.

Tracy agrees with Sasha that teaching at Le Vieux Monastère is a pleasure, not just work, "As the week goeson, everyone relaxes and shares ideas and you're not beingdragged away to do the washing or feed the kids,so you can really spoil yourself with your knitting."

Knitting has, through history, been a sociable hobby, but today for many knitters it's a solitary pursuit. Tracy feels that a knitting retreat allowsthe sharing and talking that should go with knitting. "Getting together as groups to knit is something I fundamentally enjoy, as well as meeting like-minded people. And you realise how differently people have been taught to knit.

Everyone had masses of fun an the retreat.

Tracy (left) and Sasha (right) In two knits showing why they're such famous designers.

Although I've been knitting for years, I always learn something newwhen Iteach,even though I'm the teacher," she says, "This week I've already picked up a new beading technique."

Teaching is as different as it gets from Sasha's usual work "in absolute silence apartfrom the birds." Sasha explains, "I get the blast of lots of people when I go off teaching and then I'm glad to be back in my workspace." But, like Tracy, she enjoys the sociable aspect of a knitting retreat. "They're a lotto do with what you learn from one another as well as from the teacher." She tikes teaching with other experts as well as by herself-Jean Moss and Sasha work together regularly,for instance. And fans follow both Sasha and Tracy around from workshopto workshop (half a do2en of each band have shown upatthis retreat, one from asfar afield as San Diego). "I love it, they're good friends!" Sasha laughs.

Tracy's interest in knitting started at an early age, and like Sasha, she was influenced by her mother, a tailor, who was always knitting in her spare time, and the many knitters among her aunts. "When we visited their houses I was always rummaging through their stashes, wondering what I could knit next," Tracy recalls. By the time she was six or seven, Tracy was designing her own jumpers. She has always done private commissions, studied at Chelsea College of Art, and then started workingfor Rowan, doing teach-ins and workshops, 16 years ago.

She finds it rewarding teaching beginners, as well as experienced knitters like those on the retreat. "With experienced people you swap ideas," she says, "but for me the most fulfil ling thing is teaching someone who walks nervously into a workshop and at the end ofthe day has produced a piece of work."

Two tutors, two styles

The pair'steaching styles work together and suit a variety of students -they each teach co I our work, for instance,from different angles, and they share a love of embellishments such as crocheted flowers. Tracy explains, "Sasha's a real character whose workshops are very well structured, while I'm morefluid in how I teach."

So what gets the biggest response from students? Colour, they both agree. Above all, Sasha believes, people love to grasp her intarsiatechniqueinwhichthe background yarn is woven behind the motif with every other stitch, creatinga neatstrandless diamond-stitched effect on the reverse. "When they see how easy it is, it's a wonderful moment for them-they realise they can do patternsalloverthings."

Teaching isn't always plain sailing. Once Sasha wasaboutto give a lecture to 300 people and got trapped in the loo! "I couldn't find the toilet exit," she recalls, "It wasn't funny at all—the thought of 300 people all waiting and anyonetellingthem why I was late was terribly embarrassing!" And, with a twinkle in her eyes, she pullsout her crochet and works on.

Christine and Graham Dove are already taking bookings for next year's knitting holiday at Le Vieux Monastère which will take place on 5-12 June 2010.

"We have been running knittingand lacemaking holidays for fouryears now-and this year we're starting quilting holidays," Christine and Graham told us, "The holidays are popular with people looking to goon a holiday on their own with other people who share their interest."

With previoustutors including Jean Moss and Debbie Abrahams, we can see why knittingfans are already booking up ahead. Le Vieux Monastère is in south-west France,surrounded by gorgeous countryside and plenty of interesting towns to visit

"The knitting holiday is great fun and there is always such a diverse mix of guests-there's the common bond of indulging themselves in their passion for knitting and creativity, sharing their hobby with like-minded people," they added.

For more information about nextyear's knitting holiday, email Christine and Graham at i [email protected] I e vie u x m o nastere.co m o r call them in France on 0033 546 915998. You can discover more about LeVieux Monastere at www.levieuxmonastere.com Enter our great competition to win a place In 2010 next issue!

Cast Off cAtck-

Rachael has joined forces with the Poetry Society to create a knitted poem - and they need your help!

he Poetry Society ¡s based at 22 Betterton Street ¡n Covent Garden in London. At lunchtime it is a quiet place to knit with your friends over a vegetarian lunch, in the afternoons you can contemplate with a coffee, a brownie and poetry magazines and in the evening it becomes vibrant with a bar, with open microphone sessions and readings from world-renowned poets.

To ceiebrate the centenary of The Poetry Society, we are all invited to join in knittings poem. It will be quite a large poem as each letter is about 32cm square and there are 570 characters. After a few days of writing the pattern charts, we knitted a 'P'for poetry and 'S'for society to get the words flowing, and as Simply Knitting goes to press, letters are emerging ail over the country.

The verse will remain top secret until its unveiling on the last night of the BBC's poetry season at the Roya! Festival Hall on S October. On that night the BBC wiil announce the nation's favourite poet and as our knitting is unfolded, we will marvei at its awesome verse. The poem will then tour the woridfor alito read.

Knitting loves poetry

Asked why poems and knitting work together, Judith Palmer, director of the Poetry Society and founder of the project explains, "Knitting and poetry both work in lines, back and forth, knit letters for this project.

sometimes going wrong and having to be unravelled and reworked to make something that works."

Some people can knit poems, and others knit poetically, but whatever your talent, on completion this knitted poem will send goose bumps down your spine!

Get involved

Rebecka Mustajarvi at the Poetry Society is co-ordinating the project, and keeping count of the letters, commas, full stops and gaps.

On application you will receive an intarsia pattern and an anthology of knitting related poems to read while you work, including poems by Gwyneth Lewis, Jo Shapcott and Seamus Heaney.

Every letter needs to be approximately 32cm (12>4in) square and use a 100% pure wool DK yarn. Depending on your sent a chart for your letter.

tension this will require approximately 4mm needles. All letters and gaps must be worked in stocking stitch with a light background and dark letter.

Knitters of ail abilities are welcome to join in - if you don't enjoy intarsia, the spaces between the words are just as important as the letters.

Come September there will be the mammoth task of stitching all the letters together, and seeing the poem emerge. The only clue I can give you is that it's 570 characters long and there are no iettersi, K,Oor Z!

To get involved, contact Rebecka Mustajarvi at The Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX, call 020 7420 9880 or email [email protected] poetrysociety.org.uk

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Mirasol

Miski

Ball weight 50g Ball length 75m Yarn content 100% baby llama

Knits as aran RRP £5 95

Rec needle size 5mm

Deliciously soft, Miski is a gorgeous and, being made of llama wool, unusual addition to the Mirasol rangeofyarns.

Theyarn is madefrom the super-soft fleece of baby llamas and has a lovely halo, both on the skein and when knitted up. The halo will develop as you wear and washyour garment, but be careful not to treat your knit too roughly or it will felt. Handwash, do not tumble dry and dry flat to keepyour knit lookingits best.

An aran weight yam, Miski is ideal for cosyjumpers and cardigans. We love thefactthat it is soft enough to be worn against the skin, so even sensitive sorts are sure to love it, making it the perfect choice for gift knitting.

Produced in Peru, Miski is one of the results ofthe Mirasol Project, which supports shepherds, dyers, their families and communities with the proceeds from their gorgeous yarns. Every ball of Miski sold supports their current project to build a school in the region.

Miski is available in 13 gorgeous colourways, including beautiful and versatile greys and browns as well as brighter colours. With a range of colours on offer, colourwork is a very attractive option and thecolours have clearly been chosen to work well together. A clear stitch definition makescabiesandaran patterns stand out but the halo may obscure lace.

With a really luxurlousfeel and an ethical background, Miski is a lovelyyarn to work with and well worth the price.

Kirstie McLeod Technical Editor

Animal fibres have been used to create warm and weather-proof clothingfor thousands of years. For us in Britain, it's usually sheep, but around the world, animals we find exotic produce beautifulyarns.

vSlH^

  • Rowan's Kidsilk Haze is a deliciously soft mohair (goat) and silk laceweightyarn, ideal for soft but warm shawls. Turn to page 91 for stockist information.
  • Mango Moon Yakyarn is 100% handspun yak wool. Visit www.moralfibre.eu or call 01422 381359 for stockist information.

Oiviut, madefrom soft musk ox hair, is a rare, sought after and costly yarn, ifyou're tempted, visit www.arnica.dkto order-the site is available in Danish and English.

Crafty Angoras Snowdon Ball weight 50g Ball length 270m Yarn content 70% angora, 30% Merino lambswool Knits as DK RRP £6.50

Rec needle size 4-5mm

Fabulously fluffy angora rabbits produce some ofthe softest yarn around, and this onefrom Crafty Angoras is noexception.

A blend of soft but strong Merino lambswool andfluffy angora makes this a luxurious yarn. Knitted up, theyarn produces an even fabric with a

lovely drape and a delicate halo. Try it for glamorous scarves or elegant gloves. A British yarn, each skein contains fibrewhlch has been combed or sheared off a specific rabbit without hurting it at all -our sample includes wool from Snowdon, whose gorgeous white coat has taken the bluedye evenly and produced a really enjoyableyarn to knit.

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Debbie Bliss Fez

Bali weight 50g Ball length 100m Yarn content 85% extra fine Merino, 15%camel Knits as aran RRP £4.95

Rec needle size 5mm

Ever heard the phrase 'soft as a camel's pelt'? We hadn'telther, but if Debbie Bliss' newyarn, Fez, is a representative sample we'll be using rta lotmoreoften.

Soft and light, Fez knits up quickly on 5mm needles to form a fabric with good stitch definition andagreat drape.

As with many of Debbie's yarns, however, it's the range of colours

(16 in all) that makestheyarn really stand out. Choosefrom useful neutrals like charcoal, chocolate or navy, or brighten up your wardrobe with one of the on-trend, vibrant hues including sage, terracotta and lemon.

This is a beautiful yarn for large garments. Hand wash them to avoid felting and keep your knit in top shape.

Artesano Aran

Ball weight lOOg Ball length 132m Yarn content 50%

alpaca, 50% wool Knits as aran RRP £7.99

Rec needle size 4%-5%mm

Light but warm, this alpaca/wool blend is perfect for cosyjumpers and cardigans.

Supported by a range of patternsfor garments and accessories, Artesano Aran knits uptoform a snug fabric with clear stitch definition, so it's ideal for cableor aran patterns.

Both wool and alpaca felt well, makingthisyarn a great choice for

a felted bagor hat project- but it also means you will need to hand wash or dry cleanyour finished item carefully if you don't want a felted effect!

Dry garments knitted from this flat and out of direct heat and sunlight to keep the beautiful colours looking their best. The range of 16 shades includes naturals and brights, some of them slightly heathery.

Rosârios 4 Renomat Ball weight 50g Ball length

125m

Yarn content 58%

acrylic, 23% wool, 12% polyamide, 7% reindeer hair Knits as aran RRP £3.95

Rec needle size 6m m

Reindeer are herd animals valued in the arctic for their meat, hide and milk - much like sheep in Britain-and astheyinhabita particularly chilly part ofthe world, it's no surprise that their wool has been turned into yarn.

A strong and durable blend of mm

yarns, Renomat knits up to form a firm, dense fabric with a clearstitch definition.

Made of two plies spun together, one is variegated while the other is white, giving the yarn and the knitted fabric an interesting colour pattern which forms as you knit. Renomat is machine washable but cannot be tumble dried.

Knitshop Silk Feather Yarn Ball weight 25g Ball length 26m Yarn content 100% silk thread with feathers RRP £7.99

Rec needle size 4-5mm

This unusualyarn is made up of a silk core with feathers of various sizes and hues spun into it. Tricky to knit with but rewarding, it's ideal for adding spectacular texturetoa project.

It's easy to create different effects with the feathers by changing the needle size. Atthe recommended 4-5mm, the fabric is dense and spiky, with feathers

stickingoutin all directions. Using a larger needle (we used 20mm as shown below) gives you a much looser, softer fabric, ideal for a truly unique boa or scarf or edging a shawl or coat.

While the feathers are quite well secured to the silk thread, the res u Iti n g f a brie i s sti 11 rath er delicate, so if it requires cleaning, hand wash carefully.

Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn

Carol J Sulcoski

Publisher: Interweave, £13.99*

Finding the perfect pattern for a skein of hand-dyed yam can be tricky, butthis collection makes it easy with 21 patterns designed to make the most of handpainted yarns.

With patternsfrom newfacesalongsidetop designers like Ann Budd, Veronik Avery and Nancy Bush, there is plenty to choose from. The designs use a broad range of techniques to create stunning effects that make the most of the carefully chosen colours in a hand-dyed yarn. From the chevron pattern shown on the coverto a colourwork pattern inspired by a motorcycle shop, there's a great mix of funky and classic patterns.

Hand dyed yarns come in a wide range of sty tes and co lour pa tter ns, so the information at the front of the book is invaluable for anyone who hasn't spent time with a dye-pot them selves.

The variegation and pooling , which is characteristic of hand-dyed yarns can put some knitters off, so we love that this book not only supplies you with 21 patterns to knit, but in doingso shows you a number of interesting techniques for working with the colour changes in a strongly variegatedyarntocreateastunningknit.

Even if you prefer to knit your socks in solid colours, the collection ¡swell worth a look as it includes a number of patterns with fascinating and unusual constructions, such as wrapping stitches and invisible horizontal seams, which are useful for all knitters. Save £2 To order your copy for just £11.99 (free p&p, UK only) call Search Press on 01892 510850 quoting Simply Knitting September.

Design It, Knit It Debbie Bliss

Ifyou'veever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of a designer's studio, Debbie Bliss' new book is a must-buy.

Debbie is known for her timeless designs, so it's a delight tosee how they develop-even ifyou don't want todesign knitsfrom scratch, this will prove an interesting read.

The book is packed with Debbie's patterns, so ifyou preferto 'learn by doing', this is a great opportunity to knit a garment which demonstrates the concepts she is explaining.

A great overview of the design process, this book will not teach you the calculations required to grade a pattern, but it will help you unleash your creativity—start sketching, and whether you knit anything is up to you' Save £2.99Toorder your copy forjust £14 (free p&p, UKonly) call the CMC Croup on 01273 48800S quoting R1922. Offer closes 310ctober2009.

Knit It Together Suzyn Jackson

Publisher: Voyageur Press, £14.99*

Agreat bookto curl upwith... and then take to your knitting group. Editor Suzyn Jackson has collected articles about knitting groups andovera dozen patterns to knit together. The articles are entertainingand range from personal stories to large projects like the Water Aid Knit A River project to knitting tips and how to start your own group.

The patterns have been designed to be suitablefora group to knit together. Suzyn recommends knittingthem asgifts to avoid any debate astcswho should get to take the results home! With this in mind, there are projects to suit all sorts of occasions from a new baby to a weddi ng to charity knitting. Save£2Toorderyourcopyfor£12.99(free p&p, UK and N. Ireland only), call Grantham Book Services on 01206255777, quote 'Knit It Together", Be ready to pay by card or cheque. Normal delivery isfive working days.

Little Luxury Knits Alison Crowther-Smith

Publisher: Rowan, £14.99

Kidsilk Haze is oneofRowan's most luxurious and sought-after yarns so we're thrilled to see they've published a book of 20 patterns fortbeir Kidsilk yarns, Haze and the thicker Aura.

The book focuses on accessories and is packed with projects which use just a few ballsofyarn or one ball in each of several colours—they're perfect ifyou've been building upyour stash of Kidsilk one irresistible ball at a time.

Alison Crowther-Smith has an eye for colour and our favourite project, the Stella Shrug, uses five shades of Kidsilk Haze, held together two strands at a time to create nine distinct blocks of colour which complement each other beautifully. Buy the book For more details orto find a stockist of this book, visit www.knitrowan. com or call 01484 681881.

74 j t^f ^Knitting September 2009

'Books marked with an asterisk are published overseas (usually in the USA), so you may find the terminology and yarns used unfamiliar.

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