We’re just back from a lovely week away in the Cairngorms. The holiday itself was great, but in knitting terms there’s been a few ups and downs! One of my very best friends has asked me to knit her a cardigan for her wedding. She liked my, Epsilon Cardigan Knitting Pattern so I’ve used the same kind of construction but amped up the lace a bit. I made a huge swatch to test that the lace worked out, but didn’t include much stockinette. How I have paid for that mistake! The gauge in my calculations was off by half a stitch in the “worked flat” sections, and by considerably more when worked in the round.
I think every knitter has probably gone through that denial of knitting a garment, especially with lace, and knowing it’s going to be the wrong size, but just thinking “it’ll all work out when I block it”. Blocking does not solve everything – it looked lovely but didn’t fit. So a week ago I had to bite the bullet and frog the stockinette. All of it. In 4ply yarn.
I’m a maths teacher, and I’m constantly saying to the kids that making mistakes is fine, you just need to learn from them. No need to get stressed, just go through it again and fix it. Maybe that has sunk in for me too, because to be honest, it was all pretty quick and painless to reknit. Being on holiday definitely helped, and we had a few bad weather days so I just curled up with a good book and my knitting and got through it.
We did manage to get lots of really nice walks in too. We’ve got a rescue Jack Russell Terrier who is very high energy so it was a real treat for her to get lots of good long hikes. The area round Aviemore is absolutely stunning too. We mainly kept to the footpaths near Loch Morlich, but every path you go down is absolutely stunning. Here’s a few highlights from the many, many photos:
And by the time we got back home, the cardigan was ready to block. Looking much better this time round! I'm writing the pattern up this week, so it should hopefully be tech edited and ready to purchase soon - I'll keep you posted!
The first week of Spring seems like a good day for a garden update! We've now got a lot of fruit growing, as well as the beginnings of a few borders for flowers, some seedlings are starting to sprout and there are lots of things in pots waiting for a permanent home.
The anemone above is part of a beautiful bulb collection from my favourite online gardening centre, Crocus. It's got lovely rich purple anemones, unusual blue and white dappled hyacinths and green and pink tulips - cannot wait for them to come into flower!
I've planted the largest border in the garden with fruit - four dwarf fruit trees in a row with bushes growing in between. My top garden planning tip is to do all your designing OneNote - I've got a Lenovo Yogabook with a stylus that is the best for planning - all my knitting designs are planned out in OneNote and then it all syncs to your phone so it's super handy when you're out and about. Here's the plan for the fruit border and some pictures showing how it's all coming along:
Over to the right there's a wee seating area with two borders either side. I explained how I dug in the terraces in my last garden blogpost. I've put in a few bits and bobs - a winter hellebore, a rose bush and a honeysuckle in one and in the other there's currently a black elderflower which I'm trying to encourage to form a tree rather than a shrub, some omphalodes from my Mum's garden and a winter honesuckle which will be trained up the arch. The winter honeysuckle is called "fragrantissima" and it has the loveliest scent when you brush past it. There's a pink climbing rose at the other end, so I'm hoping there'll be flowers all year round.
There's some little seedlings starting to come through too - the raised beds are almost all filled and there's some cima di rapa coming through as well as some early peas. I buy a lot of my veg seed from the Real Seed Company - they've got an amazing variety of heritage plants and the best part is you can save seed from all of them - no F1 hybrids! In the potting shed there's lots of little plug plants building up a bit of strength too. Lots of things in pots waiting to go into the front garden too. We're having the roof redone and there'll be scaffolding up next week so I can't plant out just yet, but there's a little red lilac, some scented peonies and a couple of little phildelphus bushes ready to go - you can maybe spot my little canine helper too!
Our latest pattern release is now available! A pretty hat with zigzag stripes of delicate lace. Lightweight and warm in alpaca yarn, this is a real treat to wear. Suilven is an iconic mountain in the Scottish Highlands – the zigzags in the lace mirror its distinctive peaks. The lace pattern is easier than it looks, and working through the different rows in the zigzag pattern makes this an engaging and addictive knit.
Here's the gritty details:
For Suilven Cowl:
Yarn: Juniper Moon Herriot Fine (4ply)
Colourway Travertine (75% Alpaca 25% Nylon, 422 m/461 yds per 100 g)
1 (2) 100 g skeins = 422 m/461 yds (844 m/922 yds).
Dimensions: 75cm/30” (120 cm/47”) around, 38 cm/15” deep for both sizes.
and for the Suilven Hat:
Yarn: Juniper Moon Herriot Fine (4ply)
Colourway Travertine (75% Alpaca 25% Nylon, 422 m/461 yds per 100 g)
One 100 g skeins = 422 m/461 yds, with plenty of yarn left over.
Dimensions: Smaller size stretches to fit heads up to 54 cm/21.5” around. Larger size stretches to fit heads 55 cm/22” around and up.
and for both:
Needles: 4 mm/US 6 75 cm/30” circular needle
Gauge: 16 sts and 28 rows = 10cm in stocking stitch after blocking.
Extras: Tapestry needle for weaving in loose ends, one stitch marker.
Patterns include both charts and written instructions for the lace pattern. You should be able to make a hat and smaller size of cowl from a single skein and you can make a larger cowl with a hat using two skeins.
The blog has been a bit quiet lately, but I promise I have a good excuse - we moved house in the winter! Our new house is so lovely, with a real cottage-y feel but with a handy location in Glasgow. I have never had a garden in my adult life, and it has been an absolute joy to have an outdoor space to call my own. The previous owners however, don't seem to have found much joy in the garden! There were two lawns which are in pretty bad nick, two beds filled with the dreaded leylandii, and everywhere else was either slabbed or gravelled over. Here is the groundwork completed so far to transform it into a lush and verdant oasis in the city!
The first job was to clear a large bed at the bottom of the lawn. There was a layer of bark, then membrane, then gravel, followed by more membrane. This part of the garden is down a steep, narrow set of steps, so everything needed to be removed by hand in a bucket. My arms have never looked so toned! They soil is heavy clay and it was pretty compacted, so I dug through a few bags of manure and forked it all over pretty thoroughly. I'm using this as a fruit bed - I've bought dwarf apple, pear, plum and cherry trees (all self fertile because there's not much room for additional trees), as well as raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, gooseberries and honeyberries - roll on the summer! I then mulched around the new plants with the bark that was originally on the bed. Just in case you're in the UK, I bought all the fruit trees and bushes from Marshalls Seeds, they're always good quality plants at a good price. I run the garden in the school I work at as well and Marshalls are really good for selling e.g. 30 packs of seeds at a discount.
The next job was digging terraces into a patch of gravel. I dug in three layers - a bed at the top and the bottom and a gravel area for seating in the middle. This is south facing, so it'll be a lovely spot to sit out in the summer. I cleared out gravel from the top and bottom and leveled off the soil, then dug a couple of trenches and put in willow lawn edging to keep the three levels separate. For the middle seating section, I pushed all the gravel into the middle, dug out soil from the top and moved it down to the bottom of this section, then spread gravel over it and raked it all level. I bought plants for the two beds mainly from Crocus, who have really the most beautiful and unusual flowers. I'm going for a bit of a modern cottage garden theme, with roses, hellebores, astrantia, campanula, hostas and a lovely black elderflower tree. I also put in an arch across from the bottom bed to the fruit bed, with a climbing rose and a winter honeysuckle. Now I just can't wait for it all to start flowering!
I've also put in raised beds for growing veg at the bottom of the garden. I did think about digging up the slabs, but there's no way I could do that myself - I might put some fancy slate between the beds to make it look a bit more classy. I got the raised beds from Yorkshire Timber Products on ebay who were absolutely fantastic for both quality and price. I did a lot of research to try to find a good supplier and would definitely recommend these guys to anyone. You do need to build the beds yourself, but I had literally never used a drill in my life and I managed it fine! I reused some of the membrane from the fruit bed to line them, and then put a load of gravel (also reused from various beds) in the bottom for drainage. I bought veg specific topsoil from topsoilshop.co.uk, and am gradually shovelling my way through four tonnes of soil. We've moved quite far away from the nearest gym, but it seems like that is not going to be a big problem!
This is only part one of hopefully many, and there is still lots to do in the garden. Let me know in the comments if you have had a similar experience transforming your garden, or if you have any tips and advice for me!
A chunky, textured, winter warmer classic earflap hat. And the pattern's free - what could be better?!
Yarn: Quince and Co. Puffin, one skein = 112 yards/102 metres
Needles: One 6.5mm/US 10½ 100cm/40” circular needle, plus four 6.5mm/US 10½ double pointed needles if not using magic loop method.
Gauge: 12 stitches = 4” in stocking stitch using 6.5mm/US 10½ needles.
Dimensions: To fit an average ladies head (about 22” around).
k = knit
p = purl
k2tog = knit next two stitches together
w&t = wrap and turn.
dc = double crochet (please note that in the USA this is called single crochet!)
Wrap and Turn
On the right side:
Bring yarn to the front, slip next stitch (this is the “wrapped stitch”) onto right hand needle, bring yarn to the back, slip wrapped stitch back onto left hand needle, turn your work.
On the wrong side:
Bring yarn to the back, slip next stitch (this is the “wrapped stitch”) onto right hand needle, bring yarn to the front, slip wrapped stitch back onto left hand needle, turn your work.
See youtube video here.
To work a wrapped stitch together with its wrap:
When you get to the wrapped stitch, lift the wrap (the bit of yarn wrapping round the wrapped stitch) onto the end of the left hand needle and knit/purl this together with the wrapped stitch.
Youtube video here.
Double Moss Stitch:
Row 1: *k1 p1* to end of row.
Row 2: *k1 p1* to end of row.
Row 3: *p1 k1* to end of row.
Row 4: *p1 k1* to end of row.
Stockinette Stitch in the round:
Knit every round.
Moss Stitch Band
Cast on 56 stitches, do not join in the round. Work in Double Moss Stitch for 3”. Either join in the round and place marker for beginning of round working using magic loop method, or transfer to four double pointed needles for working in the round.
Short Row Shaping
You should have 56 stitches joined in the round. Place four more markers (we'll call them M1, M2, M3 and M4) as follows:
Place M1 after stitch 17, M2 after stitch 21, M3 after stitch 35 and M4 after stitch 39. Knit to one stitch before M4, w&t. Purl to one stitch before M1, w&t. Knit to one stitch before M3, w&t. Purl to one stitch before M2, w&t.
Work in stockinette stitch in the round. In the first round after the short row shaping, work wraps together with wrapped stitches. You can remove M1, M2, M3 and M4 after you've done this. Continue working in stockinette until the stockinette section measures 3”, measuring at the beginning of the round. Now decrease as follows:
Decrease round 1: *k6 k2tog* to end of round.
Decrease round 2: knit.
Decrease round 3: *k5 k2tog* to end of round.
Decrease round 4: knit.
Decrease round 5 *k4 k2tog* to end of round.
Decrease round 6: knit.
Decrease round 7: *k3 k2tog* to end of round.
Decrease round 8: *k2 k2tog* to end of round.
Decrease round 9: *k1 k2tog* to end of round.
Decrease round 10: *k2tog* to end of round.
You should have 7 stitches left. Cut the yarn, leaving a 6” tail. Thread the long tail onto a needle, and slip the 7 remaining stitches onto the thread. Pull tight and sew over the little hole at the top a few times.
Starting from where you joined in the round, dc right round the bottom edge of the hat. Make up a 3” pompom and sew to the top of the hat. Weave in any loose ends and you're done!
It's my birthday so it's time for a wee celebratory sale! All our patterns are 50% in the store on this site until midnight on Friday.
And if you prefer to buy knitting patterns on Ravelry, all our self published patterns are on sale there too - but you'll need to use coupon code BDAY18 at checkout.
We're having a Summer Sale in the shop to celebrate the launch of our new website! All the patterns in our store are half price until the end of the day on Friday, no coupon code needed. Happy knitting!!
An oldie but a goodie! We posted this on our blogspot blog back in 2016 and definitely think it's worth a repost here to give you all a bit of summer knitting inspiration!
Summer in Scotland is a slightly chilly affair, so I love shawls and wraps to throw over my shoulders when I'm sitting outside in the evenings and this one looks just perfect. Such a pretty textured stitch pattern and lots of interest in the edging - sublime!
Wool Knot Tee by Ela Torrente
I always say I love a classic pattern with a twist, which this pattern takes very literally! Such a cool top - I love the different coloured striping, its flattering drape, and of course the knot detail.
Davis by Pam Allen
A classic Summer sweater - light and loose! The yarn is 100% organic linen spun in a ribbon structure. It's got a bit of texture to it so it looks great in a simple stockinette pattern like this.
Spring Lace Infinity Scarf by Linda from Purl Avenue
Such a pretty knit with a delicate lace pattern, this really is a showstopper! And it's a really wearable piece for people who love lace knitting but wouldn't wear a shetland triangle! And it's a freebie, who can resist?!
Lilaceous Shawl by Derya from Laylock
In Summer, I never really knit anything heavier than dk yarn - it's the time of year where lace knitting and fine yarns really get their chance to shine. And this is a true classic lace knitting pattern. Perfect for Summer weddings and garden parties, this is an intricate, timeless wrap.
Linum Tee by Bristol Ivy
Another lovely linen creation! This top in 4ply linen yarn will certainly be cool in warmer climates. I going through a real phase for textured knits at the moment, and absolutely adore the asymmetric, textured detailing round the neckline. Such a simple but striking top - love it!
Embruns by Emilie Luis
A real Summer wardrobe staple - it ticks so many boxes for me. A clean silhouette; simple, flattering design; clever detailing at the front. This is one that you knit once and wear forever!
Danzig by Justyna Lorkowska
I had to include this one! Such a fun knit - the rainbow stripes are such a joyful addition to a knitting pattern. While variegated yarns by themselves can be a bit much for me, when "diluted" like this with the grey solid colour, they add a splash of brightness that makes this a perfect summer knit.
Lacy Box Top by Lisa Richardson
Lace isn't just for shawls! This top with lace panels is an absolutely gorgeous way to show off your lace knitting skills. This really is something special, and shows that knitting isn't just about thick woolly jumpers!
Epsilon Cropped Cardigan by Littletheorem Knits
Ok, so this one's by me (a shameless plug!) but I'll explain why it's on the list: firstly, we don't have a really cropped cardigan yet and I think they're both cute and useful for when it's hot-but-not-that-hot. And secondly, I only had one skein of this beautiful blue sock yarn at the time, so I knitted the sample for this pattern in a size 28-30. This is just a tad too small for me, so it's definitely on the list to reknit in a larger size!
I really hope you enjoyed this list and that if you're a "cold-weather" knitter then it inspires you to start knitting in the warmer months too. Please let me know what you think in the comments, and let me know if you have any summer favourites that you would have added!
A bit off topic for a knitting blog, but here's a recipe I came up with the other day for a really delicious stuffed marrow with some tasty little potato cakes, and a couple of sauces and a wee kachumber salad, just because! I'm on my summer holidays at the moment, so I've got lots of time to play about with recipes that are a bit more time consuming and complex - this is really not a quick midweek dinner! And I've also got a bit of a glut of fresh produce, I've got more spinach, potatoes and marrows than I can keep up with. So this recipe will hopefully be perfect for any keen cooks with a glut from their garden, and who love to cook fancy vegan dinners.
I’m a teacher in a secondary school in Scotland, I teach Maths, but I also run the school garden. It’s a great perk – I only live a five minute walk away in a flat with no garden (although I do have 3m² of balcony, every inch of which is covered in plants) and it’s great to have a bit of outdoor space to potter about in. During the summer I pretty much use it as a private allotment, which is absolutely great if you love vegetarian cooking as much as I do! When I first took over the garden, it was totally overgrown with weeds. Nobody had done any work to it for a couple of years and horsetail was running rampant. I’ll need to write a clickbait blogpost at some point, like “10 neat tricks to transform your overgrown allotment”. I’d feel like a bit of a fraud though, since the weeds are still definitely winning! But there’s a lot of veg too, and it’s so nice to have homegrown, organic produce. I’m definitely a bit of a hippy and really love having seasonal veg that I’ve seen grow up from a little seedling, there’s something incredibly rewarding in it.
I’m vegetarian and eat a mainly plant based diet, mainly because dairy products really don’t agree with me, so I do a lot of vegan cooking. I think it’s really important in vegan food to have a good balance of textures – so often creaminess is missing but in this recipe there’s a really lovely creamy coconut sauce as well as a really tangy tomato sauce, it’s all about balance! I really love vegan food where the vegetables are the real stars, rather than relying on heavily processed “fake” versions of things from an omnivorous diet, mainly because they’re often not very tasty. This is definitely not a quick and easy vegan meal, it’s one for a quiet Sunday afternoon where you’ve got plenty of time to make a big fancy dinner – it’s 100% worth the effort though. This recipe would be great for a special occasion, if you’ve got a vegan friend coming for a dinner party this would be a real treat for them!
This is a summery recipe is perfect for veg that’s in season right now – marrows, potatoes, spinach and peas. If your garden is anything like mine, the marrows are coming thick and fast. In the last week I’ve made marrow cake, marrow curry, marrow pickle, spice crusted marrow, marrow pizza…. the list goes on. So if you’re trying to cope with a glut and think of new recipe ideas for your homegrown produce, I hope this helps!
This recipe will serve two hungry adults with leftovers, two adults and two kids, or maybe four adults if you had a big pudding afterwards!
So here’s a wee pic of today’s harvest:
And here's what I made:
For the stuffed marrow:
100g white basmati rice
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 handful mangetout peas
½ tin chopped tomatoes
½ tsp each of black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1 pinch saffron strands soaked in 50ml boiling water
Salt to taste
For the potato cakes:
1 small bunch fresh spinach
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 tsps garam masala
Salt to taste
For the tomato relish:
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ tbsp black mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, crushed
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ tin tomatoes
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
For the coconut and coriander sauce:
150 ml coconut milk
1 bunch coriander
1 small handful mint leaves
Zest of 1 lime
Good squeeze of lime juice – you can add more to taste
Salt to taste
For the kachumber salad:
1 ripe tomato, chopped into small dice
¼ red onion, chopped into small dice
10cm piece cucumber, chopped into small dice
Good squeeze of lime juice
Salt to taste
Pea shoots, nasturtium flowers and chopped fresh coriander and mint
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Cut the marrow in half lengthways and use a metal spoon to hollow out the inside. You still need to have around 2cm of flesh left on all sides. Reserve all the marrow that you scoop out. Rub a little olive oil over the marrow halves and sprinkle them with about half a tsp of salt, then put them cut side up in dish in the preheated oven.
Now chop your potatoes for the potato cakes into equally sized pieces and boil until tender, then set aside to cool.
For the biryani filling, heat half a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the mustard, cumin, nigella, fenugreek and fennel seeds and cook until they start to crackle and pop. Add the turmeric powder and stir everything for 30 seconds or so, then add the finely chopped onion. Let that cook for a minute or two then add the chilli, garlic and ginger - it should smell like absolute heaven at this point. Stir everything and cook for a minute more. Roughly chop the reserved marrow flesh and add to the pan, stirring it all up and letting it cook down for another few minutes. Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes and 100g rice and stir. Add 250ml water, the saffron strands in their soaking water, and the mangetout peas then let it all simmer for 10 mins. Keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the pan and add a little extra if it needs it. Different types of rice and different tinned tomatoes will mean that you may need to add a little more water as required. My "rule of thumb" is to level off all the veg and rice in the pan, then add boiling water until it comes 1cm above that level.
Meanwhile, make your tomato relish. Put ½ a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan over a medium-high heat, let it melt, then add the mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard seeds to start popping, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir for 30 seconds or so, then add the remaining chopped tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and another tablespoon of brown sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and extra chilli if you want!) and let it all cook down over medium-low heat.
Once your tomato sauce is simmering away, have another look at your rice. Check if it’s done and season to taste, then spoon it all into the two marrow halves. Put them back in the oven and let the bake for another 15 mins or so, checking them every once in a while.
Now make your potato cakes. Finely chop your chilli, ginger, spring onions and fresh spinach leaves. Add to a bowl with the cooked potatoes and two tsps of garam masala powder. Mash everything together with a potato masher, season to taste and shape into little balls – about the size of a golf ball. Squash the balls into little burger shapes and fry over a medium heat in a little oil until they’re nice and crispy and golden.
As they’re frying, make the coconut and coriander sauce – just put all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth paste, check the seasoning and then serve.
To make the kachumber salad, you just mix all the ingredients together.
Now serve up your homegrown feast! I put a good dollop of the coconut and coriander sauce on top of the marrow and then topped it all with nasturtium flowers, pea shoots and some extra chopped mint and coriander.
Welcome to the new Littletheorem Knits website!
It’s been a long time coming and a lot of hard work, but this is going to be our new home on the web. I’d like to say the biggest thank you to graphic designer/knitter extraordinaire Julia Gunther (@AsselKnits) for designing a beautiful new logo for our brand. I really think it reflects the spirit of Littletheorem – a simple geometric design with a bit of flourish! I really wanted something that reflected my Mathematical background, and I think it ties together geometry and lace knitting together really magnificently.
We have got quite a few designs in the pipeline that are coming along nicely – we’ve got a lace shawl pattern which I’ll hopefully release later this week, it only needs a few tiny tweaks. It’s an enormous lace shawl, one to really wrap up in. I’ve been a bit obsessed lately with designing lace patterns over an even number of stitches (I’ll need to write a blog post about this sometime soon!), and this has a leafy lace pattern with an even stitch count. Here’s a wee sneaky peek:
I’ve been a bit lace obsessed with lace lately, and have designed two “centre out” rectangular shawls. One is still on the needles, and has a large floral motif in the centre and the edges have a diamond pattern with lovely heart shaped double-nupps. The other shawl is for a book that Glasgow University are publishing of knitting patterns inspired by the university’s unique architecture. Mine is inspired by the beautiful houses on University Gardens, the centre has a repeating floral pattern and the main lace pattern is inspired by the tiers of windows in the buildings there, here’s another wee peek – not giving too much away at this stage!
I feel a bit like the last two years have been a bit of a wash out in terms of designing, keeping up on social media etc. I’ve knitted a lot of things that I have just never got round to writing a pattern for, taken so many photos for Instagram that I never post and had so many ideas for blogposts that never get written. Life has been incredibly busy, but maybe I am using that as an excuse. I think it’s definitely time for a clean sheet, turning over a new leaf and hopefully having a brand new website as a blank canvas will be a great fresh start!