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A magazine deadline has been and gone, and this week I have found myself with two days off!  I haven’t been in that situation for a few weeks so I thought I’d spend some of the time relaxing, eating pancakes and devoting a bit of time to personal projects.  The first of these is the Sidewalk Shawl I flagged up a post or two ago.  This is the state of play after two days and a bit:

PineappleShawl1It’s a satisfying and simple pattern to work: there’s nothing more than chain, double and treble crochet (single and double to US readers).  The Tuhu yarn is a llama/merino blend, which is beautifully soft and cosy, but I will definitely need to block the shawl when finished.  I had no chance of getting the original yarn anyway, but the Tuhu has a tighter tension/gauge and the high wool content makes the lace pattern contract.  It will be smaller than the finished measurements after blocking, but given that the top edge of the original shawl measures a whopping 77 inches that might not be a bad thing!

The pineapple stitch is also quite different from other textures I’ve tried; most have been on a small scale or formed of small repeats, but I have already learnt that larger repeats are very effective and this has set off a few ideas in my brain.  I’ve had a flurry of ideas for new knitting and crochet designs lately and have been very careful to note them down in some form – you know how it is when an idea flashes into your head, you can’t get to pen and paper quickly enough to scrawl something down in case you forget!  I have been wanting to focus, or at least have a go at, crochet design for some time now and it would be great if that could happen this year.  I’d love to build on the snood/scarf pattern I made in Cocoon for some kits last winter.

Incidentally, the crochet idea has travelled down the wire!  I have put together an Improvers Crochet course at Fringe108, but I’m also thinking that project-based courses are a good way to go insofar as taking beginners crochet to the next level.  I’ve been sharing some lovely ideas with Sew Over It, Fringe108 and The White Room and – fingers crossed – there will be some exciting things to look forward to in the autumn.  That’s all I can say for now! – but here are some images of motifs you can look forward to making on the Improvers Crochet course:

ImproversCrochetMotifsMoving on to knitting, another personal project is waiting in the wings and I’ll be blogging about its progress over the coming weeks.  Around Christmas time, a dear friend of mine chose this coat as her present.  (You can tell she’s a very good, special friend by her patience with me, for a start!)  I am going to cast on for it in the next few days, and here is a snap of the notions we chose from our local haberdashery shop a couple of wet Fridays ago:

SunshineCoat_BeginningsI’m calling it the Sunshine Coat – not just because it’s yellow, but also because the buttons and lining fabric we chose together are quintessentially springlike and cheerful.  The soft wisteria/lavender shade works beautifully with the sunny yellow and the wooden buttons bring it all together.  I will make sure my friend has this coat on her back pretty soon, and the longer days and sunnier intervals make this project very inviting.  It also makes a change to have a warm coat in a cheerful spring colour; March winds can bite, but autumnal colours just don’t feel right when there’s so much growth around you.  In my humble opinion 😉

Two New Projects: Pineapple shawl and Sunshine coat

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Natalie in Stitches

I design size inclusive knitting patterns for clothes makers who want their garments to fit well. Clothes should serve you, not the other way around. You alter clothes to fit you, not alter yourself to fit the clothes. I also teach people how to sew, how to design knitwear, and am currently creating a comprehensive, year-long knitwear design course, covering everything from illustration to pattern grading. If you're enjoying my content, you can get more by following me on Instagram or Pinterest @natalieinstitches, or signing up to my newsletter. Thank you for reading!

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