Stars in a Denim Sky

Hello friends! I’m getting ready for a whirlwind visit to Wonderwool Wales this Sunday (I’ve been making my show plan already!) but wanted to pop in and let you know about my latest pattern release, Denim Sky.

Introducing Denim Sky – in hues the colour of your favourite jeans

Denim Sky was originally released as an exclusive with The Loopy Ewe’s Giftables Club and now that the rights have reverted back to me I’m able to offer it to everyone! Releasing a new pattern always makes me happy. I feel a little springier in my step than usual – maybe because a new pattern and a yarn show on the horizon is the perfect opportunity to play? Continue reading

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Merrily we knitalong…

I’m sure I’ve said it before but one of the most rewarding things as a designer is seeing my patterns go off into the world to be knit by so many of you. Knitalongs (KALs) always get me incredibly excited – especially when WIP and FO photos are posted!

February has been fantastic on the KAL front so far. Finishes have been pouring in from the Maltings KAL for the upcoming Unravel show. It’s nice to know it will be easy to spot people at the show with their Maltings cowls! Continue reading

Safe Haven

This ebook is all about keeping warm in your own Safe Haven. For me, that meant a double layer of alpaca. However, I know that might be too much for you, so there are also pieces made with just a single layer. This collection became all about options for keeping warm, at just the right level for you.

Harbour Lights double layer cowl
It all started with Harbour Lights cowl; the warm lights of home on a cold night. Turn down the top for a flash of stripes, or wear it inside out and reverse your options. I found the perfect yarn in the most spectacular colours in Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight and Melange.

I love cowls, but my lovely sample knitter doesn’t feel the same way as me. And she also doesn’t feel the same way about deep teal paired with reddish oranges either, much as I adore that combination!

Seawall

So I knew there had to be an equally soft scarf, and in softer colours. I like to design with real people in mind. Yes, designing is often about what I want to knit since I’m the knitter I know best, but it’s also about what others would like to knit. And not a hypothetical knitter either, but a real knitter whom I actually know. With the cool colours of a winter beach, I knew Mel would love Seawall.

Storm Warning

Luckily, we also disagreed (yes, disagreed) about the perfect hat – a double layer for me, and just a single layer for Mel. So it’s no accident that the Storm Warning hat goes with the Harbour Lights cowl; I made those samples to be super-snuggly and in colours with which I’m obsessed. I can’t wait to wear that hat in a biting East wind; it’ll be perfect!

Leeward single layer hat

And yes, Mel made the single layer Leeward hat in her favourite selection of shades from Seawall. One layer of alpaca on one’s head is quite enough for some knitters, and I understand that. Now we were both happy with our perfect pairs of winter accessories.

Port and starboard wristeesThe wristees were an obvious addition, quite apart from a certain sample knitter’s need for complete sets that include head, neck and hands in the warmness! I am always conscious of how I’d feel about buying the yarn for a design, so I wanted something that took care of the leftovers from colourwork.

Port and Starboard are my solution. In fact, they’re great for all kinds of leftovers. With this in mind, if you just want one of the other pieces as a single pattern, you can add the Port & Starboard wristees to your basket for free.

tide tables cowl

Lastly, I wanted a neck-warmer for less bracing weather, but that would go with the single layer cowl and wristees; a lighter-weight set. That’s how Tide Tables cowl came about. It also gave me a chance to show a different colour combination, with an option to see in Autumnal shades to suit the lighter-weight knit.

Now it felt like a cohesive little collection, with options for our different climates, different times of the year and different internal thermostats. The colours say Safe Haven in different ways, with either the warming lights of home or in calm tranquility.

So which is your favourite piece (or pieces) and which colours are for you?

Launch discount: Safe Haven ebook 20% off! Add coupon code blogsea to your Ravelry basket, valid until 15 November 2013.

Foolproof Stripes

I’ve been blown away by the beautiful colour combinations, yarn choices and stripe ideas that the Foolproof mystery knitalong has sparked. I’m thrilled to see such fantastic projects made when the construction was a mystery. I know there are a few days left for the MKAL to officially run, but there’s too much to share already.

I didn’t want to single out individual projects, since there are so many great ones. But what I do want to do is think about what kinds of combinations work so well for this pattern and show some great examples. So if your project isn’t here, please don’t be offended – I can only a show a few and I loved them all! This MKAL has been a real masterclass in stripe combinations, produced by you, the knitters.
Ravelry: Jenastra's Cinnamon & Grey
copyright Jenastra 2013

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Instant Cowl

DSC_0258Wish you could finish projects faster? Stash getting out of control? Solve your problems with the Instant Cowl.

Highly versatile, the Instant Cowl can be made in any weight of yarn you like – from summer cotton to winter wool. Wear it draped singly, or doubled up around your neck to keep chills at bay.

Suitable for any ability, knitters from beginners to advanced will enjoy making this pattern. Although this is a technically a knitting pattern, you will find that it is easily adapted for crochet. In fact, I’m so sure that you could make one in a day that I’m offering the chance to win prizes!

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Foolproof: Mystery Knitalong

IK_rav foolproof badgeI know a cowl mystery knit-along is rare. This is rarer; it has no casting on and no binding off.

It’s made in rows but ends up all in one piece. There’s no knitting in the round, no sewing, no grafting, no provisional cast-on, no picking up stitches. Promise.

You can make it to your custom size without having to make a tension square. No kidding.

No purling, no knitting. Oh, wait, just joking about that last bit. There is knitting – it’s in garter stitch – with funky stripes and some easy intermediate increasing and decreasing required. It’s an intriguing construction; a real mystery.

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Ironbridge: from Austria to England

I liked the skein. I loved the wound ball. I adored the little stocking stitch swatch where the yarn came to life. Both sides looked amazing, but how to show it all off?

Semi-solid and variegated yarns are a challenge because they can make stitch patterns vanish. After more swatching the Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, twisted stitches became my solution. They just popped off the purl background because of the yarn’s beautiful stitch definition. Textures had reappeared, but now what was I going to do with that fact?

I happened to mention my thoughts to a lovely and equally knit-obsessed friend. She grabbed Maria Erlbacher’s “Twisted Stitch Knitting” book down from her shelf and insisted I took it home. It was late. I was tired. I said yes without barely opening the book: it was about knitting. I was bound to like it.Image Continue reading