All posts for the month January, 2016

Free Pattern – Boot Cuffs

Published January 26, 2016 by estherknit

Boot Cuffs 6


To fit adult

Width round leg: 42 cm (16¾ inches)


Robin FX Double Knit

Shade: 4106 Foxglove, 25 g

Robin Double Knit Print

Shade: 194 Lagoon, 25 g

A pair of 4 mm (US 6) knitting needles.

Tension / Gauge

18 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm (4 inches)

measured over garter stitch using 4 mm needles.

To knit cuffs  (knit two)

Using 4 mm (US 6) needles cast on 75 sts loosely.

Continue in garter stitch, working 2 rows in Foxglove and 2 rows in Lagoon, for 38 rows.

Work measures 12.5 cm or 5 inches.

Cast off loosely.

To make up / Finishing

Join seam.  Sew buttons over seam.  Weave in ends.

Boot Cuffs 7


How to Apply Design Concepts

Published January 25, 2016 by estherknit

Using a computer


You can apply design concepts to the styling and making of hand knitted or crochet garments.

What is Design?

 Design is the designer’s creative expression of  contrast and harmony, rhythm and balance.  The designer must develop full awareness of the power of visual contrast and apply it to his (or her) work.  Design initially depends on looking, training the eye to see and to absorb appearances, and to be alert and sensitive in recognizing the elements of design.  Art on the other hand is about values; and knitting, like any other creative activity, provides a medium for training the senses  to recognize them.  It develops a textile sense; a feeling for fibres, yarns and fabrics.  The design process is the process of designing to meet particular needs – to satisfy a brief.

The Design Brief

The design brief is the task that is given to the designer to interpret and realize.  The first task in the realization is to analyze the brief and produce a specification which will define the limits within which the design must work.

Consider the following

  • who will use it?
  • why would they use it?
  • where would it be used, situated or stored?
  • when would it be used?
  • how would it be used?

The next step in the design process is to find the most suitable materials to fit your specifications. This can be done through investigational work which should include reading, research and experiments. Fabric and yarn qualities and amounts, aesthetic appeal, and cost and availability should all be considered.

Keeping Records

Keep a record of all experimental work including the following information:

  • aim: what needs to be found out from the experiment.
  • method: what equipment and techniques were used.
  • results: what was found out.
  • conclusion: what can be gathered from the result

By conducting experiments and investigations, it is possible to narrow down the choice of materials to those that fit the design specification.  A design solution is now in sight.  There may be several possible solutions and each one may be equally as good.  The analysis of the brief and the solution is a personal one.

The Design Solution

The solution is a personal one.  There may be several possible solutions and each one may be equally as good.  However, it is essential that the solution meets the needs of the specification.  Once the design solution has been reached a plan of construction can begin.  Consider:

  • the time available for completion
  • the technical ability required
  • the chosen materials

A good design realisation fits the specification, is aesthetically pleasing and is completed in the required time and cost.

Plan of Action

The next step is to formulate a plan of action.  This should consist of a list of processes put in order of construction and a list of the necessary equipment.  When thinking about processes check back continually to the specification.  When the plan has been completed you can go ahead and make the item.  In knitting, the plan of action might be the pattern.

Boat Picture


The last stage in the design process is the evaluation.   Does the item realise the brief?  If you were making it again would you make any changes?  What have you learnt?  Compare this project with others.

The Elements of design

Every design is made up of certain elements.  These elements will differ depending upon what is being designed.   For example ‘sharpness’ might be an element in the design of a sword, and ‘fuel consumption’ might be an element in the design of a car engine.   However, when designing knitwear these are the elements which should be considered:

  • line and rhythm
  • form and shape
  • volume and mass
  • proportion and balance
  • texture and pattern
  • colour and tone
  • composition and style

Line and Rhythm

The line related to fashion design is used in various ways to achieve the desired effect.  A design is a combination of lines and shapes.  When working on an idea the line is used to develop:

  • the silhouette
  • the style lines within the silhouette
  • the details
  • to create illusions

Lines convey movement – precise geometrical movement of pilant natural movement.  Rhythmical forces in nature can be expressed in lines – flowing water, waves or fire.  They can also be used to convey abstract emotion – tranquillity energy or joy.  Line is a powerful instrument.

Form and Shape

A designer recognises shape.  She (or he) may become fascinated by the shape itself, quite apart from what is originally represented.  She can change it by exaggerating some aspect or she can distort it.   She can make several version of the shape until finally she is satisfied with a new shape which she has abstracted from the first version. Shapes can be used together, in pairs or larger groupings, and can be used to create harmonious relationships or effect sudden contrasts.

Where there are lines, there must be spaces between them.  Where lines join up, space is enclosed and shapes are formed.  Squares and circles are regular shapes.  These are called geometric shapes.  When their proportions are changed, squares and circles become oblongs and ovals.  If lines radiate from the centre of the circle it appears to be like a wheel.   These and all other basic geometric figures can be divided and subdivided both regularly and irregularly to create an endless supply of varied shapes which serve as units of design.  There are natural shapes such as shells and there are repeating shapes.

The silhouette is the shape or outline or any garment that is created by the designer.   This is achieved through the skill in cutting or making the pattern and through the weight and texture of the fabric or yarn.   The colour pattern and contrast or tonal effect will five different visual impressions of the silhouette.  The silhouette can be changed with the aid of padding, linings, pleats, gathers, frills, raising or lowering the hemline, shapes of sleeves, and so on.

Volume and Mass

Clothes are made for people to wear and people are three dimensional objects.  Knitwear is usually knitted in two dimensions, but through shaping we can create three dimensional shapes with volume and mass.  Consider how the garment will look when it is worn.

Proportion and Balance

Proportion is the name given to the relationship of sizes to each other and implies the practice of using measurements and quantities in comparison with one another.   Where there are two dimensions, height is compared with width, and in solid objects – which have height, width and depth – all three measurements are considered together.

Proportion is a fundamental element in design.  Everything has size.  Everything is made up of quantities which can be measured and which determine shape.  On their interrelationship depends to a great extent whether an item is distinguished or commonplace in its appearance.  The designer is trained to detect differences between one size and another, to assess the effect of one quantity against another, together with an ability to realise that these relationships are controlling factors in the visual language of design.  Equal stripes of black and white are found to have a tantalising feeling, each fight for supremacy and the smaller the stripes the more dazzling the effect.   If the black is increased even slightly there is a sense of relief – something is resolved.   Black has become the background – variety has taken the place of monotony.

Texture and Pattern

Pattern decorates and plans.  These are the functions of pattern.  Knitting patterns grow stitch by stitch, geometric shapes form naturally and build gradually into units of design.   These can be repeated regularly, alternatively, by counter-change in symmetrical and other arrangements to form borders and areas of rich pattern.  An example of pattern for decoration is Fair Isle.  Pattern also plans, for example, in a yoked sweater.  Pattern can be used as a large repeating design to break up and area and to plan space.   Nature is full of pattern.  Man learns from nature and takes its formations and adapts them to his use e.g. investing the wheel.   Nature is full of organic pattern, with each species producing a different kind of growth formation or natural pattern.   The designer can see and express these structures in line and shape.

Boat Chart 1

Colour and Tone

Knitting is fortunate to work in prepared colour, creating its effects from the multitude of yarns available, ranging from pale through brilliant to very dark tones, all with their different textural characteristics which accentuate tonal variety.

Colour should be taught by contagion in an atmosphere of enthusiasm.  It is very important to enjoy colour – at first any shades which the student happens to like, then gradually extending the palette by perception finding colour in the whole of life.  Everything has colour – not necessarily strong, easily distinguishable colour by often strange muted fascinating mixtures which almost defy description.

Theories about colour can be highly scientific and academic, but all that is necessary, initially at least, is to study the colour wheel.   Imagine the colours of the spectrum arranged in a fairly large ring of pure colours each in turn merging into the next.  Firstly you have a strong, pure red, vermillion, then orange, losing its warmth it becomes yellow,  This is a pure yellow which acquires a greenish tinge, turning to lime, then strong green, exactly opposite to red.   Moving then to the left, the green takes on a bluish tinge, becomes turquoise and through magenta back to red at the top.


Designing is a conscious action which can be described as choosing and arranging.  Very simply it can consist of selecting lines and shapes and arranging them according to a plan and for a special purpose.  Choice is an act of discrimination of taking some things in preference to others because of their appearance and usefulness.  It implies personal taste.  Composition is a matter of choice.  It is synthesis, bringing together in practice the various processes of knitting and aspects of design which have been considered separately.  It is a matter of harmony and contrast.

Source of Design

Where does the knitwear designer get inspiration?  Inspiration can come from anywhere.  However, there are sources of design inspiration which will provide endless ideas for the knitter.  These are

  • living forms
  • landscapes
  • sea and sky
  • geological formations
  • historical and religious influences
  • folk cultures
  • industrial and commercial influences
  • art and architecture
  • social and economic influences
  • the media

The above list could be divided into natural and man made influences.  However, the knitwear designer could be inspired just by the yarn itself – the colour, the texture, the feel!

Factors to be considered

 There are various factors to be considered when designing knitwear.

  • properties and availability of materials
  • availability of tools and equipment
  • time and space requirements
  • costs
  • consumer protection legislation

What are clothes?

 Clothing is a form of communication.  The clothing a person wears tells other about:

  • the culture he or she is part of
  • the sub-group he or she belongs to; age, occupation, wealth, morality

The following affect a person’s clothing:

  • climate
  • occupation
  • tradition
  • religion
  • personal taste
  • economic status

Clothing is generally made of woven or knitted material.   Weaving is the interlacing of two sets of yarn at right angels.   They are called the warp and the weft.   Knitted fabrics stretch more easily than woven ones.   They readily return to their original shape after stretching.  Non-wovens are fabrics made directly from fibres.  They have fibres which are held together by gluing, welding or by the friction of one fibre against another.

Properties of fabrics

Fabrics have a large range of properties.  Fibre content affects the properties of the fabric. These properties can be divided into four groups:

  • durability
  • aesthetic value
  • comfort
  • ease of care properties


Yarns can be woven or knitted into cloth or fabric.  Yarns can be either staple yarns or filament yarns.   In a staple yarn the fibres are first drafted to the necessary thickness and then twisted into a yarn.   In a filament yarn the fibres are parallel to one another and are often bulked for better texture.   Ply yarns are twisted from a number of singles.  Fibres can be natural or man-made.

The Golden Ratio

This golden ratio is a pattern that is often seen in nature. Flowers, shells, hurricanes, and human faces are just some examples of the Golden Ratio in nature. So what exactly is the Golden Ratio? It’s when you divide a line by approximately 1.62 its length. This creates a ratio so that (a+b)/a = a/b = the Golden Ratio.  This is a design concept.  This ratio is considered to be aesthetically pleasing.   Many designers and artists use this ratio in their work.  The rule of thirds is a variation of the Golden Ratio.   You divide your work into thirds, both vertically and horizontally.   These divisions then act as guides for composition.

When you design your knitwear you follow a set of rules of alignment, pattern and symmetry.  However, in order to make designs interesting and unique you may break a rule from time to time.   It is important, though, to make sure that the difference is noticeable enough so that it seems deliberate and not a mistake.   Use these design concepts and ideas in your next project.   Every concept has its purpose and they may not all apply to every project.  How you use them it a personal choice.  Design and have fun!

Boat Hat


Free Pattern – Phone Sock

Published January 20, 2016 by estherknit

Phone Sock 6Measurements

To fit small phone

16.5 cm (6½ inches) long including brim


Robin Double Knitting

Shade: 094 Violet

50 g for one phone sock

A pair of 4 mm (US 6) knitting needles

Tension / Gauge

18 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm (4 inches)

measured over garter stitch using 4 mm needles.

 To knit phone sock: (knit 2)

With 4 mm (US 6) needles cast on 14 sts loosely.

Continue in garter stitch, every row knit, for 50 rows.

Work measures 16.5 cm or 6½ inches.

Cast off loosely.

To make up / Finishing

Join bottom seam.  Join side seams reversing seam 4 cm or 1½ inches, for fold-back.  Fold brim over to right side.  Weave in ends.

Phone Sock 7



How to Knit Headbands

Published January 19, 2016 by estherknit

Ladies Headband 6

Headbands are a clothing accessory worn in the hair or around the forehead, usually to hold hair away from the face or eyes. There are two types of headband.  The first type of headband consists of a loop of elastic material such as a knitted fabric.  The second type of headband consists of a horseshoe-shaped piece of flexible plastic or metal. Thee horseshoe-shaped headbands are sometimes called Alice bands after the headbands that Alice is often depicted wearing in Through the Looking-Glass.

Knitted headbands come in assorted shapes and sizes and are used for both fashion and practical purposes. It will keep your ears warm when the air outside is at a temperature less than comfortable. You can also  make a lighter, thinner headband that can be worn to hold your hair off your face.  Pull on a knitted headband for a quick solution when you are having a bad hair day. Twist a narrow headband that you just knitted for an easy updo. Wrap one around your ponytail for a great look. |A headband is a quick and easy project and it allows you to use up those balls of leftover yarn.  Your headband should be knitted about 1 – 1½ inches small than your head circumference.  It will stretch a bit and you wouldn’t want it to be too big.

Headbands can be knitted using the following stitch patterns

  • bobbles and blackberry stitches
  • cables, twists and crossed stitches
  • Fair Isle, jacquard and single motif
  • intarsia
  • knit and purl textures
  • lace, openwork and river stitches
  • ribs
  • slip stitch
  • tuck stitch
  • weaving-in and woven stitches
  • combined stitches

You could change the width, thickness or orientation

You can knit headbands in various widths – just change the number of stitches you’ve cast on.  These would be more of a decorative, hold-your-hair-back type, rather than a winter weather warm-your-ears-while-snowboarding type.  You could also change the needle size, and yarn, and therefore tension, to create a thicker or thinner headband.  You can knit headbands side to side or end to end or diagonally.


Here are some standard measurements for headbands.

Headband Sizes End to End

Headband Sizes Side to Side

How to make a headband

  1. Gather your materials; knitting needles, yarn and pattern.
  1. Make a gauge swatch or tension square. Knit your square and measure how many stitchesand how many rows to 10 cm (4 inches) using your yarn, needles and stitch pattern. Write down the results.
  1. Decide on the size of your headband. Cast on the required number of stitches according to your tension square.
  1. Now, knit your headband in a stretchy stitch fabric such as garter stitch, 1 x 1 rib or moss stitch.
  1. Continue knitting until the piece is as long as you would like your headband to be. Heads vary in size, so measure your own, and take off one to two inches for the stretchiness of the stitch.
  1. Cast or bind off your stitches.
  1. Sew (or graft) the cast off edge to the cast on edge. For added flair, twist the headband once before sewing the edges together. The twist will make the headband more comfortable at the back of your head, so your hair can fall normally.
  1. Add embellishment. Weave in the ends.

You could add an embellishment

You can add an embellishment to your finished headband to make it more interesting – such as

  • Appliqué
  • beads
  • bows
  • buttons
  • cords
  • duplicate stitch
  • embroidery
  • flowers
  • pom-pons
  • ribbons
  • sequins

Ladies Headband 7














Free Pattern – Simply Garter Headband

Published January 12, 2016 by estherknit

Ladies Headband 7


To fit adult

Width round head: 46 cm (18½ inches)


Robin Double Knit

Shade: 094 Violet

25 g for one headband

Buttons for embellishment

A pair of 4 mm (US 6) knitting needles

Tension / Gauge

18 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm (4 inches)

measured over garter stitch using 4 mm needles

Pattern notes

The headband is knitted in one colour or in two row stripes.

Either side can be used as the right side.

To knit headband

Using 4 mm (US 6) needles cast on 10 sts loosely.

Work in garter stitch, every row knit, for 138 rows.

Work measures 46 cm or 18½ inches.

Cast off loosely.

To make up / Finishing

Sew the two short ends of headband together.  Add buttons.  Weave in ends.

Here are some suggestions for more headbands.

Headband Sizes

Aviary Photo_131012401056923477

How to Estimate Yarn Requirements

Published January 9, 2016 by estherknit

`1606 Atlantic 1

It is always difficult to estimate how much yarn you will need for a project because you cannot know for certain until you have finished knitting it, and by then you will already have made your decisions.  Of course, a mixed yarn project is easier because you do not have to worry about matching dye lots and even if you cannot obtain more of a yarn you can simple add in something else which blends in colour, texture and yarn weight.  However, if you are using only one yarn, there are various ways of estimating approximate yarn quantities at least.

Similar garment

You can weigh a similar garment in a similar yarn.   If you then add an amount of the yarn ‘wastage’ during knitting, this will tell you how much yarn to buy.  You could also look at a pattern resembling your design in shape and yarn type.  The colour is also important.  Differing dye intensities make even different shades of the same yarn vary in weight.  If you are using a pattern, compare the length measurement per ball if stated on the ball band or cone band.  This gives a more accurate guide than weight alone.

Knit up a ball

Knit up a ball of yarn or a certain quantity – say 50 g.  Multiply the height of the knitted piece by the width to get the area of the piece of knitting produced from this quantity of yarn.  Now, divide the area of knitting produced into the approximate area of the entire garment as calculated from your measurement plan, roughly converting each pattern piece into rectangular shapes for easy calculation.  This will give you the approximate number of balls (or 50 g) needed to complete your garment.

Number of stitches

Calculate the number of stitches knitted from one ball by multiplying the number of stitches per row by the number of rows knitted.  If you are knitting from cones or yarn then wind off 50 g.  Calculate the number of stitches in the back and one sleeve of the sweater in the same way, by using your measurement diagram, and double the result.  Divide one into the other as above.

Knit half

Keep a check on the number of balls used (or the weight used) to knit the back and one sleeve of a sweater.  Approximately the same amount will be needed to complete the rest of the garment, not including edgings or additional features such as pockets and collars.

Keep records

Keep a record of your tension details and how much yarn is used for each project for future reference.  This makes future estimates easier.

Tension Tables

When you knit a garment record all the details of the garment size, yarn specifications and quantity used.  One day you may see something similar and need to decide whether there is sufficient yarn for your purpose.

Machine knitters use industrial yarns and these provide the knitter with special problems when estimating the amount of yarn required for a garment.  Industrial yarns usually come in cones and are often treated with oil to help the yarn knit on a machine.  After the garment is knitted it will need to be washed to remove the oil. This means that weighing the garment after it has been washed will perhaps be different to the weight before washing.  These oiled yarns usually shrink in the first wash.  So, if you are using only one yarn throughout the knitting you need to weigh the garment, before it is washed if the yarn is oiled, and record the pattern size and quantity used.  If you are using more than one yarn, then weigh each cone before you start and again when you have finished knitting, and record the results in your notebook.

Use the tension square

Tension Square 1

Buy a small quantity of the yarn and knit a tension square.  Weigh it on a postal or kitchen scale.  Record the weight.  Assuming it is 14.5 g.  Also, record the area.  If your tension square is 10 cm square, it’s area is 100 square centimetres (10 x 10 = 100).  Next, calculate the approximate area of each garment section by multiplying widest dimension times overall length.  Add these figures together to get the approximate area for the garment.  Then, divide the result by the sample area.

Here is an example of such a calculation:


Sweater 1 Front and BackSweater Back:

across the chest                        45 cm

length                                          50 cm

total area for back              2,250 cm

Sweater Front:

total area for front             2,250 cm

Sweater Sleeve:

width at upper arm                  30 cm

length                                          58 cm

total area for sleeve             1,740 cm

total area for both sleeves  3,480 cm

Total area for sweater:

2250  +  2250  +  1740+  1740  =  7,980 cm

Divide by sample area (100)

7980   ÷  100  =  80  (approx.)

Sweater 1 Sleeve

The figure 80 represents the number of your samples needed to knit the sweater.  Sample weight was 14.5 g.  So, 14.5 x 80 = 1,160 g.  From this you could deduct 10% to allow for shaping decreases.  The resulting 1,044 g is the estimate of yarn needed.

Ask for assistance

If in doubt, consult an assistant in a local yarn/wool shop.  A good assistant (if you can find one) will have the experience and access to pattern books from which to make an estimate of the amount of yarn your project will need.



Free Pattern – Carnival Set for Teddy

Published January 6, 2016 by estherknit

Carnival Set 6

Carnival Hat


To fit teddy height: 43 cm (17 inches)

Width round head: 38 cm, (15 inches)


Robin Double Knit Print

Shade: 189 Carnival, 50 g

A pair of 4 mm (US 6) knitting needles

Tension / Gauge

18 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm (4 inches)

measured over garter stitch using 4 mm needles

 To knit hat

With 4 mm (US 6) needles cast on 60 sts.

Continue in garter stitch for 52 rows.

Work measures 17¼ cm or 6¾ inches.

Shape for crown

1st row: * k2tog; repeat from * to end.  (30 sts)

2nd row: Knit

3rd row: * k2tog; repeat from * to end.  (15 sts)

4th row: Knit

5th row: * k2tog; repeat from * to last 1 st, k1.  (8 sts)

6th row: Knit

 To make up / Finishing

Break off yarn, leaving a long end.  Thread this through remaining sts, draw up tightly and secure.  Join back seam, reversing seam 4 cm or 1½ inches for fold-back.  Fold brim over to right side.

Carnival Scarf


To fit teddy height: 43 cm (17 inches)

Length of scarf: 60 cm (24 inches)


Robin Double Knit Print

Shade: 189 Carnival, 25 g

A pair of 4 mm (US 6) knitting needles

Tension / Gauge

18 sts and 30 rows to 10 cm (4 inches)

measured over garter stitch using 4 mm needles

Pattern notes

For a neater edge, always slip the first stitch of every row.

 To knit scarf

Using 4 mm (US 6)  needles cast on 6 sts.  Continue in garter stitch as follows:

Next row: Knit.

Repeat this row until work measures 60 cm (24 inches) long. Cast off.

 Carnival Set 8

To make up / Finishing

Weave in ends.  Add fringe.

To make the fringe

For the fringe, cut 12 lengths of yarn 10 cm long. To form a piece of the fringe take 2 strands of yarn 10 cm long, and fold them in half to form a loop. Using a fine crochet hook, draw the loop through the knitted fabric of your scarf and then draw the ends through the loop. Pull the fringe knot tight. Space 3 fringe knots evenly across each end of your scarf. Trim fringe to 5 cm.

Carnival Set 7