Travels!

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, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, 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!

EYF and…. Celtic Cable Shawls book launch!

With me, it seems like exciting announcements are a bit like buses…. you wait ages and nothing shows, and then two turn up at once!

Celtic Cable Shawls Book Launch

It’s FINALLY HERE! (and I know it’s taken so long… and I have to thank all of you for your patience in waiting for me to get this project to completion). Celtic Cable Shawls now exists in print form (if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably saw the recent photos of me getting ridiculously excited after receiving the first print proof!).

Here’s what you need to know if you want to get a copy:

  • I will be having the official launch at Kathy’s Knits on Broughton Street tomorrow (Fri 13th) from 5pm to 7pm. It’s open to all, so please do come along if you’re in the area!
  • I will also be selling copies at Edinburgh Yarn Festival (this weekend, 14th to 15th March) – I’ll be in stall A3, and I’m very, very excited to be a part of EYF!
  • If you would like to order online, and buy directly from me, you can do so here! I’m opening it for pre-orders now and will start processing the orders on Monday 16th March (after I’ve recovered from EYF!). Please note all the orders via my site will take at least 5 business days to process and ship (each book is printed-on-demand, so it’s a bit of a slow process). If you want the book more quickly, you might have more luck ordering from your local Amazon (the listings are being updated gradually, so if you don’t see it as available right now, try checking back in a few days).
  • If you order it directly from me, you’ll receive an e-mail with a link for downloading the e-book version too (note that if you buy the book anywhere else, you won’t get the free e-book version unfortunately. I would love to be able to provide it everywhere but it’s a bit of a logistical nightmare!).
  • It’s also worth noting that you may be able to order it in direct from major bookstores worldwide (I’m told by my distributor that this is possible but it all seems like witchcraft to me!). If you try this, it might be useful to give them the ISBN (978-0-9927690-0-0), And if it works, please let me know! :D

Some photos of the first print run!

Important announcement for EU customers!

UPDATE (5th Jan 2015): Celtic Cable Shawls is now available for EU customers to buy from LoveKnitting here – all of my individual patterns are available to EU customers via the integrated Ravelry/LoveKnitting checkout.

There is one drawback, which is that LoveKnitting does not currently support Ravelry-based promotions. I have an on-going promotion where anyone who has bought the pattern Taliesin can get Celtic Cable Shawls with the price of the pattern deducted – this currently won’t work for EU customers unfortunately. If you’d like to take advantage of this offer and you’re based in the EU, please e-mail me/Rav PM me with your Rav username and Paypal e-mail address, and I can arrange a way to send the e-book to you at the discounted price!


This is an announcement for anyone in the EU (not the UK) who wants to buy my patterns in the future (if you’re in the UK, or outside of the EU, this doesn’t apply to you so you can cheerfully ignore it!).

From 1st January 2015, EU VAT laws are changing – sellers of digital products to customers in the EU now have to charge tax based on the customer’s location. Without wanting to get too ranty, this legislation has been very poorly written and badly communicated to the businesses that it affects – it took a lot of us by surprise and for the past couple of months, Ravelry has been working to find a solution. They have teamed up with LoveKnitting to provide a checkout service that will automatically add the required VAT to Ravelry pattern prices for EU customers.

Not every designer on Ravelry will be using this service (for a variety of reasons), but after a lot of thought I’ve decided it’s the best solution for me for now (hopefully this will be a temporary solution and I’ll let you know once things change!). What this means for you, as a customer living in the EU (non-UK), is that from Jan 1st, when you buy one of my patterns on Ravelry, you will check-out through LoveKnitting. This process is entirely automatic, but you will be required to make an account with LoveKnitting (you only need to do this once). The pattern will still be saved in your Ravelry library as normal, the only difference is the check-out process.

Ravelry have written an excellent guide for EU customers here: http://www.ravelry.com/content/vat/loveknitting

One small flaw in the system is that at the moment, it can’t handle e-books, so for a short while Celtic Cable Shawls will be unavailable to EU customers. There is a workaround which involves putting all the individual pattern files into one PDF and uploading to LoveKnitting – I will be working on this tomorrow and hope to have it available very soon.

Apologies to all of my EU customers for the shortness of notice in communicating this change to you – and best wishes for 2015!

Ishneich pattern release + update on Celtic Cable Shawls book

It’s been rather quiet on this blog for a while – but I’m very happy to announce the release of the 7th (and final!) shawl pattern in my Celtic Cable Shawls collection: Ishneich!

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Ishneich is a top down triangular shawl pattern, designed to work well with a variegated yarn and a contrasting semi-solid (or solid) yarn. The variegated yarn is used in the body, and broken up with stripes of the semi-solid, which is also used for a cable border. I used two gorgeous shades of Malabrigo Sock, which I picked up on a lovely trip to The Yarn Cake in Glasgow, the day before my birthday (back in March). When I picked the shades originally, I wasn’t planning on using them together, as I didn’t think they would match, but once I tried some stripes, I was surprised by how well the colours worked together – it’s funny how that can happen sometimes!

ishneich-web-6

I wanted to take this opportunity to also give an update on the progress of the book. Celtic Cable Shawls is going to be released in print format (together with an update to the e-book version – so if you already have the e-book, you will also receive the PDF version of the print book, once it’s ready).

I have had many queries asking me about a publication date, and I’m really sorry to say that at the moment, I can’t give an exact date. I am self-publishing the book myself, and doing most of the work myself too, including layout and photography. I’m also working with a graphic designer to produce some tutorial diagrams, as well as with a couple of freelance tech and copy editors.

At the moment, all the photography for the book has been completed, and all the pattern are finished too. The diagrams are in the process of being completed. The main work left to do is all of the layout, all of the final editing, and also some introductory text that I need to write. So, it’s close to finished, but I’m reluctant to give an exact date, because co-ordinating a major project lik this is a bit of learning curve for me – I’m working with Lightning Source to print the book, and I’m not exactly sure how long everythinig will take to get ready once I submit the final file to them.

I will update this blog as soon as I’m able to give an exact date of release (you can also sign up to my newsletter, if you would like to be the first to hear about any news!).

I know a lot of you have been waiting patiently for the print book for quite some time, and I’m really sorry to not be able to give you an exact date yet – thank you so much for your patience, and for your interest in the book too. It’s really very much appreciated!

Ravelry Indie Design Gift-a-long is here!

If (like me) you spend unhealthy amounts of time on Ravelry, you may just have heard some murmurings of a special project organised by a group of indie designers – well, it’s time to go public… the Gift-a-long has begun!

The Gift-a-long is a collaborative event, hosted and organised by over a hundred independent designers on Ravelry. We’ve banded together to offer a huge selection of our patterns at a 25% discount, and the Ravelry group will host KAL/CAL threads in different categories, so that you can chat along with fellow Ravelry members whilst you get your gift-knitting/crocheting underway. Best of all, there’s a massive selection of prizes on offer, which will be awarded randomly to participants in each of the threads – if you take part in the Shawls & Stoles category, you will be in with a chance to win a subscription to my Celtic Cable Shawls e-book – I’ve donated 2 pre-orders to the prize pile.

As we designers banded together to plan the Gift-a-long, we realised that there was no way to tag participating patterns in a way that would show up on the Ravelry search engine. There is a long thread in the Gift-a-long group, with one post from each designer who is taking part, but we were lacking a way to actually browse through every single pattern available. I tentatively suggested the idea of making Pinterest boards for each of the categories. Amazingly, a group of designers jumped in to help, and soon we had a team of pinners, supervised by the amazing Ash Kearns, who did a fantastic job of organising us. Between us, we pinned over 2000 patterns into categorised boards, in just a few days. And here they are!:

Hats and Head Things

Scarves and Cowls

Mitts and Other Arm Things

Shawls and Stoles

Socks

Garments

Baby and Child

Non-Wearables

Other

So, to recap, every single pattern on the boards above is available with a 25% discount, from Nov 1st to Nov 15th, when you add to Ravelry cart and use the code giftalong. And, you can join a KAL/CAL in the Gift-a-long group and be in with a chance to win some prizes. Hope to see you over there!

P.S. Almost forgot to mention… it probably goes without saying, but every individual pattern in my Ravelry store is in the Gift-a-long, and eligible for the discount. If you’ve bought a pattern from me previously and not cast-on yet, you can still take part in the KAL threads!

Kyna shawl + Celtic Cable Shawls – a rather exciting announcement!

I’ve just released a new shawl pattern – Kyna, a sideways triangular shawl with a twisted-stitch cable edging.

Now for the exciting announcement bit – this design is actually the second design in a collection of shawl patterns that I will be releasing in e-book format – and print too! Yep, I’m doing a book!



The e-book version is currently available for pre-order on Ravelry – when you pre-order it, you will get all the patterns currently released (at the moment this includes Taliesin and Kyna), and then you will receive the rest of the patterns as they’re released. There’ll be a total of 7 designs in the completed book.

Because Taliesin was released way before I announced the collection, I have set things up so that if you purchased Taliesin on Ravelry, the full cost of this pattern will be deducted from the cost of the e-book (note that you need to be signed in to your Ravelry account, and click ‘add to cart’ on the e-book source page for this to be applied automatically!).

If you’d rather get this book in print, then stay tuned – I will announce details of the print pre-order soon, and a complementary copy of the e-book will be included with every print book pre-order.

Lots more information here on my website!

The Tale of Taliesin

After a good few months of knitting, charting, testing, tech-editing… Taliesin is finally available!

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This shawl has quite a long back story, and I thought I would tell some of it here… the design is named after the Welsh poet Taliesin, but I will stick to prose!

It’s probably apparent from even a quick glance at some of my past designs that I’m completely obsessed with Celtic knotwork. I learnt how to draw it from the marvellous writings of George Bain (a truly wonderful artist, who inspired so many people with his books) and Aidan Meehan, and I love how the form is underpinnned with mathematical, grid-like structures, yet also allows for a lot of creativity. I don’t consider myself an artist and I’m not very good at drawing, but I can invent my own Celtic knots with relative ease, and I find it very relaxing.

Here are some early sketches of knotwork that I made back in April, with a view to turning them into a cabled shawl… originally my design was a little different.

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This was what my original swatch looked like:

Spot the mis-crossed cable!

Spot the mis-crossed cable!

I decided the different cables were just a bit too fussy, so I went back to the drawing board and simplified things a bit.

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I eventually ended up with the final design, and set about knitting it up with a beautiful skein of Old Maiden Aunt yarn that I got at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. However, disaster struck when I ran out of yarn halfway through the cast-off!

Every knitter's nightmare...

Every knitter’s nightmare…

Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise though, because the shawl was a little bit on the small side for my tastes, and I wanted to enlarge it, so I got another skein. Even though it was from the same dye lot, the colours seemed a little different, and I was worried it would be obvious, so I striped the skeins a bit and in the end it looked fine.

Here it is blocking:

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This is where things get decidedly bizarre. Somewhat foolishly, given my track record of losing handknitted objects, I decided to wear this shawl to the Beltane Fire Festival on April 30. At some point during all the revelry, I must have dropped my shawl, and didn’t notice until after the event had finished and the security guards were shepherding everyone down from Calton Hill, where the event takes place. I tried my best to get back onto the hill, so that I could look for the shawl, but security said no. They said my best bet was to check with the council next day, as they’d be sending in cleaners to clear up the hill.

Now, I had a sinking feeling in my heart that I would never see my shawl again. It was about 3 am by this point, pitch dark, and I was making my way home. The route back to my flat goes past one of the small roads that leads to the top of the hill. All the roads were blocked off with large metal gates, but I happened to notice that there was no guard on this particular road. So, I might have found myself squeezing past that gate and clambering up a pitch dark hill at 3 am in search of a hand-knitted shawl. Yes, perhaps not the most sensible or safe thing to do. But I was desperate to find it, and also reasonably sure that the only people still left up there would be security guards, and not anyone who would try to murder/rob/violently assault me. So, up I went.

I got up to the top of the hill and was completely disoriented. I couldn’t even remember where I might have been standing when I dropped the shawl. So I picked a spot, figuring I had to start somewhere, got out my phone, switched on the torch function and began sweeping it along the ground. Within approximately 10 seconds, I spotted something like knitted fabric. I think I may have actually shouted, “NO WAY!” in my disbelief, but yes, it was my shawl!

It still boggles my mind how it was that, by complete fluke, I happened to pick pretty much exactly the correct spot where I had dropped my shawl. A bit of Beltane magic, maybe, or just sheer luck. Either way, I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to find something that I thought was lost for good!