Lindisfarne shawl

Yesterday I was really pleased to finally be able to launch Lindisfarne, the second pattern in Illuminated Knits

Lindisfarne is a large rectangular shawl, with an interesting construction. It’s worked in the round, with a steek, then cut open at the end to produce fringed edges.


The shawl is worked from one side to the other, starting with a provisional cast-on and the edges are finished with an i-cord cast-off.


Like the first pattern in Illuminated Knits (the Iona blanket), this pattern makes extensive use of slipped-stitch cable colourwork. I’ve really fallen in love with this technique, because it makes it so easy to get the effects of colourwork without having to resort to stranded knitting or intarsia (having devoted so much time to working with cables and lace, I’m a woefully underdeveloped colourwork knitter, all fingers and thumbs!). I took the technique a bit further with this design, by incorporating cable patterns in both of the shades used to stripe the background. The heavier weight cables are in Malabrigo Sock Marte and the delicate twisted stitch cables are in Malabrigo Sock Persia.


In the central braid that runs down the length of the shawl, the twisted stitch cables wind in and out of the heavier cables. This is one of those marvellous knitting tricks that looks like it would involve fiddling around in a hopeless tangle with lots of balls of yarn at once – but magically, there is still only one strand of yarn being used on each round. I also managed to write the pattern in such a way that there are quite a few rest rounds – most of the cabling takes place on rounds where Marte is the main yarn, and the cables are worked for the twisted stitch cables by simply slipping them into position. On the next round, all that’s required is to k tbl.


Above is a close-up of the fringe, after the steek has been cut and unravelled, blocked and then neatly knotted at regular intervals. I really love the effect of the two shades of yarn mingled together; it really gives the effect of a piece that has been woven, rather than knitted.

Another benefit of using slipped-stitch colourwork is that the back of the shawl looks really neat – just like striped garter stitch. There’s something very satisfying about looking on the reverse side of a complex multi-coloured piece, and being surprised by the complete lack of floats!

As with the Iona blanket, this design was an absolute monster to design, plan, knit and write up – it was several months in the making and went through a lot of permutations before settling into its final form. Originally I had envisaged the shawl being covered in a repeating pattern of triangular knots, inspired by a knot from the Lindisfarne manuscript. It was quite late in the design process when I suddenly had the vision of the central braid, with the twisted stitch cables lacing in and out. I had to rewrite the design to fit it in, but I think it was worth it in the end!

Here’s a few pics of the design in progress (note my utter inability to settle on a colour scheme!):


Dunedin shawl

Today I’m excited to announce the release of Dunedin as a PDF download!


Dunedin was originally designed for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016 companion magazine, Wool Tribe, which was on sale at the festival back in March and was a great hit, selling out very quickly. Unfortunately, due to the speed with which we got the magazine together, some errors crept in to the pattern – so I’m very pleased to finally be able to offer a corrected and revised version of this pattern! If you have bought the original Wool Tribe magazine and are having difficuties completing Dunedin, please just get in touch with me at and I’ll be happy to send you a free copy of the updated version of this pattern (and to help you with any queries you might have).

This shawl features a cabled border, which is worked first, then a shallow half-circular body which is worked upwards from the border and shaped with a combination of short rows and decreases. The version pictured uses approx. 1 100g skein of 4-ply/fingering weight yarn; this newly edited and revised version of the pattern also includes a larger semi-circular sized shawl, which uses approx. 2 100g skeins of 4-ply/fingering weight yarn.

The design process for this shawl was unexpectedly very difficult (partly due the time constraints!) and involved quite a few sleepless nights as I tried to get all the calculations correct and finish the sample in time for it to be photographed for the magazine. Whilst the cable pattern is pretty simple compared to many of my designs, the short row calculations proved to be something of a nightmare to calculate correctly in order to get the shape I wanted – a very shallow-half circle that curves around the shoulders, somewhere between a scarf and a shawl.

I had to rip out and reknit the body section so, so many times to get it right, but I’m glad I persevered, because the final shape is exactly what I wanted. In fact, I think out of all the shawls I’ve made, this is the one I enjoy wearing the most! If you saw me at Edinburgh Yarn Festival this year, you may have noticed me wearing it.

Which reminds me – here’s a silly picture of my friend Graeme and I at EYF 2016! (I’m wearing Dunedin and he’s wearing a Jayne Firefly hat that I made him for his birthday).


And, also at EYF 2016, here I am with the lovely Karie Westermann (Karie is wearing her Burnet hat, also featured in Wool Tribe).


I’d like to close this post by thanking the EYF team for getting me involved in Wool Tribe, and thanks also to Helen of Ripples Crafts for providing the yarn for this shawl (it’s her Quinag Bluefaced Leicester 4-ply in ‘Stormy Seas’ – the most beautiful teal-blue I think I’ve ever seen!).


Iona blanket + Illuminated Knits

I’m delighted to announce the release of a new blanket pattern – Iona!


This blanket was inspired by the richly decorated carpet pages of illuminated manuscripts; it’s assembled from individual squares, worked separately in the round from the centre out, and then attached with a three-needle cast-off or seamed together.

The contrasting colourwork effect is achieved by striping yarns of two different colours, and slipping the cabled stitches on every other round.

Whilst the cable pattern that forms the Celtic knot was certainly a challenge to design, I think it was actually more difficult to decide on the colours to use in the blanket! The pattern uses Malabrigo Sock, which comes in a gorgeous array of variegated and semi-solid shades. I love how the subtle changes in colour evoke a faded wash of ink – perfect for a design inspired by illuminated manuscripts.

Here are some of my original colour choices (along with some early sketches of the knot that I scribbled in my faithful Moleskine notebook!)


Archangel (pink-orange) cable with Tiziano Red (background) – I like the combination but thought Archangel was slightly too variegated for the cable to show


Lots of different colour squares! Think these are, clockwise from top: Lotus (cable) with Aguas (background); Lotus (cable) with Impressionist Sky (background); Lotus and Aguas again; and Impressionist Sky (cable) with Aguas (background).


Impressionist Sky (cable) with Aguas (background) – really liked this combination but felt the blue was ever-so-slightly too dark to show the cable

After a lot of swatching, sketching and playing around with coloured pencils, I finally settled on a colour scheme that uses 5 colours for 4 differently arranged squares: Turner (green); Ochre (golden-yellow); Archangel (pink-purple-orange); Aguas (blue-green) and Rayon Vert (purple-green).

Once I’d decided on the colours, it was a lot of fun to work on the individual squares and watch the blanket slowly growing. I particularly love how the shade ‘Ochre’ really pops in contrast to the other colours – I used this shade  for the i-cord edging that completes the blanket.

e-book-coverIona is the first pattern in Illuminated Knits a mini-collection of designs inspired by the rich colours and decorations of Celtic illuminated manuscripts and using beautiful shades of Malabrigo yarn.

The collection will feature three accessory patterns (including the Iona blanket) and one garment pattern. It’s available to pre-order now as an e-book for £8.50 and you will receive the patterns as they are released over the coming months.

If you’d prefer to wait until all the patterns are released before buying the e-book, you can sign up to my newsletter to be notified when the collection is complete!


The Book of Haps – Uncia

Today I can finally reveal to you my design for Kate Davies’ The Book of Haps

Uncia is an unusually shaped shawl, based on a 1/12th arc shape and inspired by Gothic and Romanesque cathedral architecture.

Lucy8 copy

Lucy1 copy

Photos by Tom Barr

The pictures for the book were taken on Calton Hill, Edinburgh (not far from where I live, in fact!)

I developed the cable and lace patterns based on cathedrals I visited last summer whilst travelling around France and Germany (in particular: Koln, Mont Saint-Michel and Carcassonne). It was a very fun challenge to try to capture the essence of these buildings in knitted stitches, and it’s probably something I’ll come back to in the future.

Here’s a few pictures of Uncia that I took myself, to show a little of the detail in the lace edging…


It was a real honour to be asked to contribute to this book, and to be featured amongst such a wonderfully varied and illustrious group of designers. Thanks to Kate and Jen, and all the team involved in bringing this book to life!

We’ll be having a book launch at Kathy’s Knits, Edinburgh, on Saturday June 11th (which coincides with the Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl!). Kate, Jen and myself will be there, along with some of the hap samples, and we’ll be signing copies of the book, so if you’re in/near Edinburgh, please do come along!


Test-knitting opportunities (paid)

UPDATE (24th May): Thanks to everyone who applied! The deadline has now passed, so I’m closing the application process and will be sending out invites to the group over the coming week.


Hello all! It’s all been a bit quiet from me lately, but I have lots of things up my sleeve to release in the near future (not least of all my design in Kate Davies’ upcoming The Book of Haps – more to be revealed in the coming weeks!)

I’ve been spending some time thinking about the process I go through when testing and editing my patterns. Due to the complex nature of my designs, I find I get the best results when using a combination of tech-editors and test-knitters from around the world (as I use some non-standard abbreviations and terminology, it’s very helpful to  get a feel for what may be confusing to someone who does not have English as a first language).

I’ve previously used some of the free test-knitting groups on Ravelry (and am immensely grateful to all the test-knitters there who have lent their time and skill to help improve my patterns – you know who you are!); however, I’ve increasingly felt that my test-knitters should be properly reimbursed for their time, and so I’ve decided to set up a private group where I can post paid opportunities for test-knitting.

I should point out that I don’t release patterns particularly regularly, so there won’t be a high volume of designs available to test, but if you feel like you’d be interested in working alongside me as I’m developing new patterns, then read on!

Some things to note:

  • I want to keep the testing group reasonably small, so I will probably not be able to accept everyone who applies (if you don’t hear back from me soon after the deadline, it’s safe to assume your application was unsuccessful – sorry!).
  • If you’re accepted, you’ll be added to the group and get e-mail updates whenever I post a new test. (Note – it’s a Google group, so I think you may need a Google account in order to join. If you don’t have one, you’ll likely be prompted to create one when you get the invitation to the group).
  • If you’ve test-knitted for me before, please mention it on the application form!
  • If you’ve never test-knitted before and are curious about what it entails: I’m looking for eagle-eyed knitters who can spot the kinks in a pattern, comment on anything that seems confusing, give suggestions about what might work better, etc. (You knit up the pattern with your own yarn and keep the finished product: all I need back from you is your feedback on the pattern).

Click here to apply! (Deadline is Tues 24th May).




Nennir written instructions

5th October 2016: A corrected version of the written instructions has now been attached and can be downloaded here – Nennir-written-instructions-v2-0.pdf


After getting a few requests for the written instructions to my free pattern Nennir (originally published in the Winter 2012 issue of Knitty), I’ve decided to post the file here so that it’s available to all!

Please note that this is a fairly basic text file, generated straight from my charting program, and as such does not include any explanation of the abbreviations, etc. – you need to refer to the page on Knitty for all the info on how to knit the cowl. This is simply a text version of the charts ‘Cable Pattern Part 1’ and ‘Cable Pattern Part 2’ (you will need to work out the edging chart yourself as it isn’t included in the text file!).


Hello all! This is just a quick notice to let you all know that I will be travelling from June 14th to June 25th and, as such, may not be able to respond quickly to any queries (although I will be checking my e-mails as often as possible!). I’m going to France, to check out some Neolithic sites in Brittany and to play some gigs in my alternate-disguise as a folk musician!🙂

I will also be closing my web-shop for this period, so you won’t be able to buy the print version of Celtic Cable Shawls directly from me during this time (although you can still buy it via Ravelry,,, etc. or by ordering directly from any major bookstore such as Barnes & Noble, Waterstones, etc.).

Also, a big thank-you to Kate Davies for mentioning my book on her blog, as part of series of posts about designing and self-publishing!