Auldhouse Sweater is live! It's a super simple, slightly cropped sweater with a gorgeous lace pattern, and it's 50% off with coupon code AULDHOUSE50.
Auldhouse is top down with short row shaping at the shoulders for the perfect fit. It's totally seamless with instructions for nine sizes - we always try to be size inclusive! There's advice on how to change the sleeve circumference and length too. The lace pattern looks impressive, but it's straightforward to knit. Cuffs, hem and the classic crew neck are finished with neat twisted ribbing
I normally name patterns for places I’ve visited recently – in the past it was usually mountains I’d climbed in my last adventure. Now at eight months pregnant, my patterns are being named after places closer to home. Auldhouse is just down the road from my house and the location of a fantastic toddler group – how times change!
Auldhouse Sweater is available at a 50% discount until midnight (GMT) on 22nd Feb using coupon code AULDHOUSE50 on Etsy, Ravelry, Payhip and the Littletheorem Knits Website.
Spring Snowfall Test Knit
This weekend we'll be looking for test knitters for this beautiful cabled sweater. If you want to test knit, follow me on Instagram and watch out for the test call!
We're having a little mini sale to celebrate Valentine's Day! Our three most heart filled patterns are half price with coupon code VALENTINE24.
Here's a wee description of each of the patterns.....
Loveheart Crop is a super cute cropped tee with little "double nupps" that look just like hearts. It's a yoked top, but worked from the bottom up (so the hearts aren't upside down!) There are nine sizes to keep things inclusive, and it's the perfect Spring knit in 4ply yarn.
Heart shaped double nupps
Rather than lace, this time the hearts are stranded colourwork. Fairisle Hearts is a top down, seamless yoked sweater with a classic fairisle design. Just like Loveheart Crop, there are nine sizes to choose from.
Another fairisle design, my Alpinist Hot Water Bottle Cozy is incredibly quick to knit in super chunky yarn. Always a great option for gift knitting, a true heartwarmer!
You can find all these patterns on Ravelry as well, they're grouped into a Valentines Day Bundle. Use the same coupon code - VALENTINE24 for a 50% discount.
My new pattern, Crosshill Cardigan, is live! It's a top down, seamless waterfall cardigan designed for miniskeins (but still beautiful in a single colour). The main colour is Mulberino Yak 4ply in navy and the contrast colours are a set of Mulberino Shfades, both from Orchidean Luxury Yarns. The cardi comes in nine sizes, to fit chests approximately 28-60". It's open at the front so there's a bit of leeway between sizes.
The cardigan is worked from the top down using a modified raglan construction before splitting for the sleeves and body at the underarm. The body is worked down to the hem before picking up the sleeves stitches and working down to the cuff. We work a series of eight bands of lace from top to bottom, these could be worked in eight different colours, maybe one contrast colour, or the whole cardigan could be worked in a single colour.
And what's the inspiration behind the name? Crosshill is the area in Glasgow where my parents stay, and a firm favourite of my daughter. This makes it one of the few places where I’m able to get any knitting done while she’s awake!
Crosshill Cardigan is available at a 50% discount with coupon code CROSSHILL50 until 15th February 2024.
For my upcoming pattern, Goldenacre Cardigan, I really wanted the lace pattern to run all the way from the neckline down to the cuffs of the sleeves. To my mind, the best way to do this is using a Saddle Shoulder construction. In this post, I'll give details on how to knit a top down, saddle shoulder cardigan.
Here's a diagram showing how the upper body is put together, we go through each part step by step below. In my Goldenacre Cardigan pattern, obviously there are all the exact stitch counts and patterns, but here we just give an overview.
1 and 2: work strips of lace (or whatever pattern you're using!) for the left and right saddle shoulders. These will go along the shoulder from the neckline to the top of the sleeve. I made mine quite long for a drop shoulder.
Left: working a saddle shoulder. Right: Pick up and knit stitches from saddle shoulders with a cast on for back neck in between.
3. Lay out the saddle shoulders as shown in the above right picture. The cast on edges are at the centre and the live stitches are at the outer edges. Pick up and knit stitches from right to left along the top edges as shown, and cast on stitches for back neck in between. Work these stitches down the back to the underarm (shown below) and place on waste yarn/spare circular needle/stitch holder. In Goldenacre Cardigan, we add short row shaping at the shoulders for an improved fit.
Upper back with saddle shoulders attached
4. In Goldenacre cardigan, there is an attached shawl collar. If you don't want a shawl collar attached, go ahead and skip to Step 6. Maybe you could pick up stitches round the whole front to keep things neat instead.
Work the attached shawl collar from centre of back neck to the front edge of the saddle shoulders. We pick up stitches from the back and saddle shoulder with a spare needle (below top left). I picked them up from a row back to avoid a big gap. Then cast on stitches for the shawl collar (below top right), then work the shawl collar stitches, knitting edge stitches together with the picked up stitches on every second row (below bottom pictures).
Top Left: pick up stitches from right saddle shoulder and right half of upper back. Top right: cast on stitches for shawl collar. Bottom left: hold shawl collar sts and pick up stitches together. Bottom right: purl shawl collar end stitch together with next picked up stitch.
5. Work the other half of the shawl collar. Pick up stitches from the saddle shoulder and along the back neck to meet the other half of the shawl collar (below left and centre). Rather than casting on, we pick up and knit stitches from the existing shawl collar cast on (below left). We then work the shawl collar stitches down towards to front edge of the saddle shoulder, again knitting edge stitches together with picked up stitches every second row (below right). Don't break the working yarn this time.
Left: pick up and knit stitches from shawl collar cast on. Centre: Pick up stitches from left saddle shoulder and left half of back neck cast on. Right: purl shawl collar end stitch together with next picked up stitch.
6. Left Front: Work across shawl collar stitches, then pick up and knit stitches from the shawl collar for the left front. Stitches are worked down to underarm.
Work across shawl front stitches and pick up and knit stitches from saddle shoulder
7. Right Front. Pick up and knit stitches from right saddle shoulder the work live shawl front stitches. Work all stitches down to underarm to match left front. Finally, we join right front, back and left front stitches before working down to the hem.
Pick up and knit stitches from right saddle shoulder and work across shawl front stitches.
And that's it! It ends up looking something like this:
And here's a wee sneak peek at how the finished cardigan looks - it should be out for test knitting soon. Follow @littletheorem on instagram or twitter for the test call!
Arnprior is live! This super cosy cardigan is the perfect "quick to knit" pattern for winter wear. Living on Scotland's seemingly permanently cold and rainy west coast sometimes it seems like winter will never end, this is a great one to knit when you need something toasty and you don't want to spend a month knitting it! The simple but stunning lace pattern looks great at shoulders and cuffs, and the twisted ribbing adds interest to an otherwise easy stocking stitch knit.
Arnprior Farm becomes a fabulous pumpkin patch in the Autumn and is a firm favourite of my daughter. This cardigan is so quick to knit that I managed to finish the bulk of it on the drive to and from Arnprior this year. The beautiful pink and orange tones of the yarn are perfectly reminiscent of sweet treats at the pumpkin patch.
The cardigan is knitted from the top down. We cast on stitches across the upper back and work down to the underarm, knitting the lace pattern as we go and working armhole shaping at the outside edges. Then stitches are picked up at each shoulder and worked down to the underarm, with armhole shaping to match the back and increases at the inside edge too. There's a little twisted rib edging at the inside edge to stop the fronts curling.
Then we work all stitches down to the hem, and pick up stitches round the armholes for the sleeves. Hem and cuffs are worked in twisted 1x1 rib, and there's another repeat of the lace pattern at the cuffs too.
We've tried to be as size inclusive as possible here, so there are 11 different sizes so hopefully everyone can pick a cardigan that fits. We include guidance on ease and instructions on how to change the sleeve length.
There's a schematic showing all measurements and a disgram showing how to work the upper body too.
Arnprior is available at a 50% discount until midnight (GMT) on 7th February 2024 with coupon code ARNPRIOR50.
Knitting Trends - Accessories
I made a post on 1st Jan looking at trends for garment designs on Ravelry, so I thought I’d do a follow up for accessories. I really love looking at data and hope this is useful for my fellow knitwear designers as well as people just deciding what to knit next!
Where does the data come from?
I used Ravelry’s “hot right now” pattern search, filtered for accessories, only paid for patterns and “new to Ravelry”. I feel like free patterns skew the results – they’re not necessarily “hot” because of the pattern but because of the price tag! I included “new to Ravelry” this time as well. When I did my garment design trends post at the start of January I didn’t do this and I think I got a lot of patterns which have been at the top of Ravelry for months if not years, rather than reflecting current trends.
I only looked at the top 50, so this is more of a snapshot than a definitive study, but I think it gives a good picture of what’s popular right now.
There are definitely categories that I think I could break down further – knit and purl in particular covers a huge range of fabric types from simple stocking stitch to complex textured patterns. When I wrote the post analysing garment trends, I only included one fabric type per garment because there were so many other variables (fit, neckline, sleeve length, hem length….). For accessories, I only had a main category, then one layer of refinement – e.g. neckwear is the main category and that’s refined into scarf, triangular shawl, cowl etc. So I felt like I had more bandwidth to include more detail on the fabric type. I assigned two fabric types to each accessory (if required). This meant I could have e.g. lace and cables rather than picking the more prominent one. I also broke down colourwork into stranded, mosaic, stripes etc.
Broad Garment Types
Number of Colours
Breakdown within Garment Type
What Stands Out from the Data?
There were a lot more complex fabric types than I found in the garment trends -lots of colourwork, textured patterns, lace and cables. I think this must be because there’s such an abundance of free basic accessory patterns out there, if you’re going to pay for an accessory pattern, you want it to be something special. Whereas even basic sweaters are normally “pay for” – a lot of work goes into grading for multiple sizes and getting the fit right for even a stocking stitch sweater. Neckwear was most popular – this is always great for gifting, one size fits all, versatile in terms of what stitch patterns you can use or which weight of yarn.
The yarn weights that turned up most often were fingering and DK weight – these accounted for two thirds of all patterns. This is maybe a little surprising given the time of year – I do love aran and chunky weight accessories when it gets really chilly. I think it’s explained by the nature of the fabrics – lace and especially colourwork often work better with finer yarns. A chunky cowl with a stranded fairisle pattern might be simply too bulky to be comfortable. If I hadn’t filtered out free patterns I think there would be a lot more heavier weight yarns in simpler stitch patterns.
Colourwork Triangular Shawls like Thieve's Road (left) proved popular this winter. More complex stitch patterns and multiple colours as used in Dip in the Lily Pond (centre) outperformed basic knit and purl fabrics. Lace shawls like Beinn Ghlas (right) are on trend for Winter 23/24!
What are the Major Trends?
Colourwork is in! Over half of the patterns used more than one colour, and over a third used colourwork techniques (stranded colourworks, stripes, slip stitch, modular colourwork and woven knitting). The most popular colourwork technique was stranded colourwork by a large margin – fairisle is definitely on trend for Winter 23/24.
The three most popular categories, with each type making up 10% of the patterns surveyed, were:
While neckwear is the most popular category overall, colourwork is definitely the most used fabric type. Since it’s easier to work colourwork in the round it makes sense for colourwork cowls to be so popular. The next two most popular categories, each at around 7% of patterns surveyed were:
Lace Triangular Shawls
I wonder if this also ties in with the kind of yarn people were gifted – I know if I’m ever asked what yarn I’d like as a gift I ask for 4ply or laceweight since you only need one skein to make an accessory. Although I have been known to ask my parents for a sweater quantity of aran weight yarn, I wouldn’t ask anyone else to splash out potentially £100 on a gift! Then these lighter weight yarns lead to pattern sales for delicate lace designs. Just a thought!
My Burrell Sweater is my go to comfy sweater. The body is super oversized, but the sleeves are nice and snug, and it's cropped to just the right length - so flattering. Plus it was a lovely easy knit in mainly garter stitch. The pretty modern lace pattern adds just enough interest to stop this being tedious to knit. Great with jeans or over a black jersey dress, this is cosy, flattering and easy to wear.
Tentsmuir is like a dressy version of my Burrell Sweater. A simple, timeless lace pattern at the neckline and around the cuffs adds a touch of class. Bracelet length sleeves make this perfect for Autumn and Spring too. This was the first oversized, cropped sweater I ever designed myself. I knitted one for my aunt (in 4ply yarn with 3mm needles - it was a real labour of love!) and she loved it, but it took me a while to come round to the idea for myself. I took a big leap of faith and knitted this while I was freshly postpartum with my daughter. Maybe I was crazy to knit a cropped sweater while I was least happy with how my stomach looked, but it really worked. Don't ask me to explain the physics of it, but this really truly is a flattering silhouette!
I am absolutely in love with the woven look of this stitch pattern. My Caisteal Sweater features a simple basketweave cable pattern that;s supersized by adding and dropping yo's at each stitch. This leads to an open, airy, elongated woven look that I can't get enough of. The sweater itself is cosy, comfortable and quick to knit, but if you're looking for a challenging stitch pattern this is the one for you. There's a video tutorial to help you master it though!
Autumn Fireside Knitting Pattern4. The "Textured Stitch Pattern" Oversized Cropped Sweater
If the last stitch pattern was a challenge, this one is more relaxing. Autumn Fireside is a basic "knit and purl" design that still looks fabulous. It's another super cosy pullover with a bold geometric design. The yarn is Eden Cottage Yarns Brimham DK, so slightly lighter weight than the other sweaters so far which have all been in worsted or aran yarn. It's a hardwearing merino/nylon blend that still feels luxurious to work with, and the hand dyed colours are saturated and rich - a joy to knit!
Living in Scotland, I'm definitely biased towards warm, cosy sweaters. But the list wouldn't be complete without something for summer wear too. My Monadh Top is a flattering, drapy, long crop knitted up in 4ply yarn. Again, it's mostly simple garter stitch so perfect for relaxed knitting, but the lace detail is (in my opinion) stunning. The lace looks very complicated but it's mainly made by making and dropping yarn-overs, with one row of gathered stitches in the middle. There's lots of room for creativity in the colour scheme here, you could knit this all in one colour or add even more stripes. Who doesn't have a range of leftover odds and ends of sock yarn to use up?
Quite a busy holiday here at Littletheorem HQ! My "real job" is working 3 days part time as a Maths teacher, and I look after my 3 year old for one and a half days, so really there's only Wednesday mornings and evenings and weekends for working on knitting pattern design. So I definitely make use of the holidays for catching up on business admin tasks that fall by the wayside.
I've just finished reading "How to get to the top of Google" and it was a bit alarming really how badly set up my website was, so I've been doing a lot of fiddling around behind the scenes to try to fix some aspects of that. Mainly trying to add more content. I've souped up the main landing page a bit - let me know what you think in the comments! Trying to add more in depth content to my blog too. Last week I wrote a big post analysing trends in knitting patterns, and I'm hoping to make that a regular feature. I also haven't added anything to Lovecrafts for a loooong time, so I've been slowly but surely adding patterns to the Lovecrafts Littletheorem site.
Don't think for a minute that I haven't had time for any knitting though!
I've been working on a saddle shoulder cardigan in gorgeous Malabrigo Rios. Colourway is "Almond Blossom", I think it's a bit of a brighter/darker pink than the yarn looks on the Malabrigo Website but it's still very pretty indeed. Loving how it looks so far, it's mainly 2x1 slip stitch twised rib with big lace panels. I like how the twisted ribbing looks like fake brioche stitch. It's the first time I've tried doing a saddle shoulder, I think it'll look nice having the lace pattern running all the way from the neckline down the sleeves. The only issue is the attached shawl collar is rolling more than I'd though. My swatch lay perfectly flat! But here we are. I'll just pick up and knit a bit of ribbing around the front, and fingers crossed it'll be just fine!
My Brocken Sweater is finished too! Here it is in a bump pic - you can see why I'm knitting a lot of open fronted cardigans at the moment!
I have now been off work for 10 days and I’ve been suffering from symptoms of excel withdrawal. In my “real” job, I’m the Principal Teacher for Numeracy in a large inner city school in Glasgow. One of the huge reasons I’m not a knit designer full time (apart from the fact that I can’t afford it!) is how much I love teaching. Working with young people and helping them develop their skills is just unbelievable fulfilling. That and the data.
If I had to rank it, I probably love teaching the most, then designing knitting patterns, then data analysis. I’m lucky that excel spreadsheets are a huge part of both of the first two options. I need to know what kids need what interventions and I need to know if they work. Add into that exam results analysis, ongoing test score analysis, attendance statistics… the list goes on. And in knitwear design too, everything I do is organised in excel. Stitch counts and measurements for nine sizes as a pattern progresses would be a nightmare to do by hand. If you found out after 100 rows that you needed to cast on one extra stitch then you’d have to throw away all your paper calculations and start again.
So I’m putting lots of things I love together here really – a results analysis for “What’s Hot in Knitting” for January 2024!
Let’s break things down a little more.
Where did you get your data? I used Ravelry’s “hot right now” pattern search and filtered so it was only garments (not accessories, home etc) and only paid for patterns. I thought free things would skew the results. I’m certainly not Ravelry’s biggest fan, given their poor treatment of people with disabilities, but they surely are a good data source. I tried using Payhip and Etsy but it wasn’t really possible. Lovecrafts is massively skewed towards pattern which they also stock the yarn for. So Ravelry it is.
I think in future I’ll use search by newness rather than “hot right now” because so many of them have been in the top 50 for a loooong time. I think I’d get a better snapshot that way. I’m aiming to get that done by mid January.
What are the limits of the data?
I had to make a few judgement calls here, there are so many more things I could have included and many things that could be broken down further. “Knit and purl” as a fabric type covers a lot of things, and “textured” is certainly a bit vague. It all becomes a bit philosophical – when does a crew neck become a scoop neck? Where do you draw the line between oversized and slightly oversized?
There are a number of designers (who shall remain nameless) who only included a chest measurement in their pattern description so I had to eyeball things like ease and cropped-ness. And conversely a big thank you to all the designers who scrupulously label all their patterns features.
What were the results?
Most popular garment type:
Most Popular Fabric Style
Most Popular Yarn Weight
Most Popular Garment Fit
Most Popular Garment Length
Most Popular Neckline
Most Popular Sleeve Length
What stands out about the data?
There are some really obvious things, like long sleeves are popular in winter and laceweight cardigans are not. Some things are a bit more surprising, like the lack of aran or bulky weight patterns during the coldest season. I would speculate that this is due to cost of living increases, it’s certainly cheaper to knit a sweater with three skeins of 4ply rather than 10 skeins of bulky yarn. I was a little surprised that 94% of the most popular 50 patterns had positive ease (garment measurements bigger than body measurements). Even though I’m a big fan of oversized garments myself, I thought opinion was roughly 50-50 on the fitted vs oversized debate. Although to be fair, 48% were only slightly oversized. One thing I don’t understand is why pullovers are twice as popular as cardigans? And why are cables so unpopular? Maybe someone can explain it to me in the comments!
Oversized, cropped sweaters are in - like my Burrell Sweater.
What are the major trends?
There were five broad pattern types that covered a huge 86% of the patterns, this is what I would label as the key knitting pattern trends for Winter 23/24:
Yoked sweaters with lace detail ranked highly, here's my versions.
From left to right: Pollokshaws Cardigan, Bracklinn Sweater and Pollokshaws Sweater/Tee.
What’s the take home message?
It looks to me like a lot of pattern sales are coming from:
Having said that, I think the take home message should always be to knit what you like! Design what you like! Don’t be constrained by trends for sure. If you want to knit a fitted, cabled cardigan in super chunky yarn then do it!
I hope knitters find this interesting and get some knitting inspiration from it. It might be useful for knitting pattern designers, but then again maybe it’s better to find your own niche than try to copy the big hitters. I was trying to find some of my own knitting patterns that fit into these trends and it turns out I am not as trendy as I thought. Maybe I should try to be more data driven in my designs?
I hope this brings a little joy to any fellow data nerds, I know there are plenty of us in the knitting community, and I would certainly love feedback on my methods – I’m more of a dabbler in data than a true professional.
Wishing everyone a happy new year, filled with knitting patterns that bring you happiness!
Fairisle Hearts Sweater - my yoked colourwork pullover pattern
My End of Year Sale is here! I'm offering a massive 50% discount on all patterns until midnight on 31st December. Use coupon code BOXINGDAY23 for half price knitting patterns!
It's a great time of year to stock up on knitting patterns. Maybe you got some yarn for Christmas and you're not sure what to do with it, or maybe you're looking for something creative to occupy your holiday. The time between Christmas and New Years Eve can feel a little empty, and crafting is a great way to spend some quality time and get away from the consumerism of the season. And coming from Scotland, we're looking ahead to some of the coldest months of the year so it's a great time for making something super cosy to snuggle up in!
Whatever the reason, we've got a huge range of knitting patterns with something for everyone!
And if you're looking for some (free!) knitting with a purpose, you might be interested in signing up for one of my current test knits:
We have two fabulous test knits with spaces open at the moment. Both are top down, totally seamless, available in nine sizes and feature gorgeous gathered lace stitches. Auldhouse is a simple crew neck sweater - slightly oversized and slightly cropped, knitted in chunky yarn. Arnprior is an open fronted cardigan that's incredibly quick to knit in super chunky yarn.
You can sign up to test knit and find out more in my Ravelry Group. If you don't use Ravelry but still want to test knit, get in touch via the "contact" button on my homepage.