Tutorial: tubular cast-on


A tubular cast-on is a great way to start a project that begins with ribbing – it’s perfectly suited to 1×1 (k1, p1) ribbing, and can also be adapted for 2×2 (k2, p2) rib and other arrangements. It can be paired with a tubular cast-off for a matching finish on both ends of an item; I decided to use this for my recently released pattern, the Bain scarf.

Some things to bear in mind:

  • there are a few different tubular cast-ons – the one I’m demonstrating here is the long-tail tubular cast-on. All of them achieve the same purpose, which is to cast-on invisibly in the middle of a row of stocking stitch fabric, then double-knit the top and bottom end of the fabric at the same time on the same needle. This creates a folded-over tube that sits neatly at the edge of the work. If this sounds confusing, I recommend this great post from TECHknitting which explains everything very well. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try out the cast-on in a small swatch, then take it off the needles and unravel it – watching what happens as it unravels should help you to understand the underlying structure of the cast-on.
  • After the initial cast-on, the double-knitted foundation rows are knitted (as k1, sl1wyif on each side). 2 or 4 foundation rows can be knitted (I use 2 in the Bain scarf).
  • It’s often advised to work the cast-on and foundation rows on a smaller needle than that used for your project, to prevent the cast-on from flaring out. I personally haven’t found this to be necessary, however it’s worth experimenting and swatching to see if this improves the appearance of your tubular cast-on.
  • Some tubular cast-ons require you to pull out the base yarn after working the cast-on – this one doesn’t! In this version, the working yarn and long-tail alternate to form each stitch in the first row of the cast-on, so pulling out the tail afterwards is impossible.
  • If you’re casting on an even number of stitches, I recommend holding the yarn with the tail over your index finger; if it’s an odd number of stitches, you can hold the yarn over your thumb. Doing it this way ensures that the very last stitch of your cast on will be worked with the working yarn, and not the long-tail – this doesn’t really make much difference either way, but I find it helps to remind me to begin the foundation row using the working yarn, and not accidentally use the long-tail!
  • Remember to leave enough length in your long-tail for the cast-on – you can use the methods you would normally use to estimate the length of the tail in a standard long-tail, for example, wrapping the yarn around the needle for the number of stitches required, or estimating the width of the project and making the tail 3-4 times as long as that.
  • You might notice that this cast-on is very similar to the method I like to use for casting on provisionally (indeed, in the TECHknitting post linked above, a provisional cast-on is used and the waste yarn is pulled out afterwards). The only difference is that when casting on the even-numbered stitches, instead of leaving the yarn just sitting on the needle, you go one step further and scoop the needle over the front yarn and back under – this has the effect of alternating the stitches between tail and working yarn.


1. Begin by tensioning the yarn as you would for a long-tail cast-on – it doesn’t matter so much whether the tail goes over your index or thumb, but as mentioned above, for an even number I like to have the tail over my index finger (so, the tail yarn here is the back yarn, over my index finger, and the working yarn is the front yarn, over my thumb).


2. Bring your needle-tip from above into the V of the yarn, holding onto the yarn with your thumb to keep it in position.


3. Bring the needle under the front yarn and bring it back up above, so that you have one loop on the needle with a twist in the yarns. This is the first stitch – remember to keep a hold on it with your index finger to prevent it shifting around.


4. Bring the needle behind the back yarn and under it to the centre.


5. Bring the needle over the front yarn…


6. … and scoop under both front and back yarns, to bring the needle back up above both. This is the second stitch cast-on. As for the first stitch, it’s important as you’re working to always hold on to the last stitch cast-on, with your index finger (this keeps it in position as you’re moving the needle).


7. To cast on the third stitch – bring the needle over the front yarn and under to the centre…


8. … then bring the needle over the back yarn…


9. … then scoop under both back and front yarns, to bring the needle back up above both.


10. This is the third stitch now cast-on, and now you know all the steps required to complete the cast-on. For even-numbered stitches, follow steps 4-6. For odd-numbered stitches, follow steps 7-9. A quick way to remember it is:

Even-numbered stitches: under the back, over the front, under both.

Odd-numbered stitches: under the front, over the back, under both.

Remember that each time you start a stitch, you work with the needle coming from the outside to the centre (so, either from the front then under the front yarn, or from the back then under the back yarn).


11. This is how it looks after I’ve cast on an even number of stitches (sorry some of the photos are a little out of focus – my camera was misbehaving!)


12. Turn the cast-on around to begin working the foundation rows. You need to do this really carefully, so that the last stitch doesn’t fall apart (because the working yarn and tail yarn aren’t joined together, they’re just twisted once around each other).


13. Carefully check that you have your working yarn ready to knit with (it should be the same yarn that was used to make the last stitch). It’s very easy to accidentally start knitting with the tail by mistake (something I’ve done more often than I’d like to admit…), so double-check to be sure! (here I’m holding the working yarn in my left hand, as I’m a continental knitter).


14. Knit the first stitch. Note that on the very first row, the knit stitches will be oriented backwards (with the right leg of the stitch at the back of the needle, and the left leg of the stitch at the front). Just be aware of this and make sure you’re knitting into the stitches so that they won’t be twisted (i.e. make sure the right leg of the stitch is on the right and the left leg on the left, as you insert the needle).


15. For the second stitch, bring the yarn to the front of the work, and hold the yarn in front as you slip the stitch purlwise (this is abbreviated to sl1wyif).


16. Continue in this manner across the whole cast-on, to the end (k1, sl1wyif to end). The last stitch will be a sl1wyif. This is the first foundation row completed.

After this, work the next foundation row in exactly the same manner (k1, sl1wyif to end – this time the knit stitches will be oriented correctly). You should notice that on this row you’re knitting the stitches that were previously slipped – and slipping the stitches that were previously knitted. This creates a double-knitted fabric (if you’re not sure of what this means, it doesn’t matter – it’s just an interesting thing to know!). You can work another 2 additional foundation rows, for a total of 4, or just 2 foundation rows.

After this, you can continue however the pattern directs. If you’re working in 1×1 (k1, p1) rib, you should be able to see how neatly the foundation rows will transition into ribbing – just k1, p1 over the stitches that were previously k1, sl1wyif.

If your ribbing is going to be 2×2 rib, or some other variation, you will need to do a small amount of rearranging, just so that everything lines up neatly. The exact way that you do this will be different according to the order of stitches in the rib – here I will demonstrate how to rearrange for a (k1, p2, k1) 2×2 rib.


17. As I want the rib pattern to be (k1, p2, k1) I can k1, p1 the first 2 sts as they are, because they already fit into this pattern. However, if you look at the next 2 sts on the left needle, you can see that it’s a k stitch followed by a p stitch. So I need to rearrange the stitches so that the k stitch crosses to the left over the p stitch – this way I will be able to p1, k1 over these stitches. This is a basic cable, which I term as a T2L. Here I’ll demonstrate how I do this without a cable needle (if you want to use a cable needle for this, you would sl the first st to cn, hold to front, then p1 from ln, k1 from cn).

General disclaimer – my method of cabling without a cable needle may be a bit weird, I think there’s probably a simpler way of doing this T2L with less steps. Personally I like to slip all the stitches to the right needle first, then rearrange them as necessary and put them back onto the left needle to work them in order. It’s a habit I’ve developed out of working very complicated cable stitches, where I like to check everything’s in the correct order on the left needle before I work the stitches. So if you have a different way you prefer to do a T2L (one k st crossing left over one p stitch), just ignore the next bit and work the cable whichever way makes sense to you!


18. To work the T2L without a cable needle, I’ve slipped the next 2 sts on the left needle to the right needle, then inserted the left needle into the second stitch now on the right needle (which was the first stitch to be slipped).


19. With my left index finger, I’m holding on to the p stitch (which was the first stitch on the right needle) as I pull the right needle out of both stitches…


20. … then I catch the p stitch with the right needle…


21. … and transfer it back to the left needle. This has swapped the order of stitches on the left needle, so that now there’s a p stitch followed by a k stitch.


22. I can now p1, k1 across the stitches, and you can see the (k1, p2, k1) pattern across the first 4 sts that have been worked.


23. The next 2 sts on the left needle fit the pattern, so I can k1, p1 over these without any rearranging. For the next 2 sts after that, I’ll need to do another T2L. This can be repeated across the row to rearrange the stitches – (k1, p1, T2L) to end.


24. After this intial row of rearranging the stitches, I can continue in the rib pattern as set. Here it is after a few rows have been worked – you can see how the cast-on neatly flows into the rib, and how the stitches appear to smoothly wrap around the base edge of the fabric.


I’ve made a series of short video clips illustrating different stages of this cast-on (by default, these should be hidden, to avoid distraction – you can view the clips by clicking on the description for each one, and hide a clip by clicking its description a second time).


This clip shows how the tubular cast-on looks whilst being worked…



This clip shows the first foundation row being worked (k1, sl1wyif). Note how the k sts are oriented backwards…



This clip shows the second foundation row being worked (k1, sl1wyif). Note how the k sts are oriented normally on this row…



This clip shows the first row of the ribbing – I’m rearranging the stitches for 2×2 rib by working (k1, p1, T2L) across the row…



I hope that this tutorial was helpful! I’ll shortly be releasing an accompanying tutorial for the matching tubular cast-off.

P. S. Nearly forgot to mention – the needles I’m using here are wooden 5 lace-tip interchangeables from DyakCraft (I’m not affiliated with them in any way, just wanted to share as they are so gorgeous and unusual, and I know some of you will be wondering where they’re from!). Sadly they are quite hard to get hold of these days, but occasionally new wooden tips are posted on their Turnings page. I love wooden needles but it’s so hard to find ones sharp enough for my liking – these ones are definitely the best I’ve found!

Illuminated Knits book launch!

I’m back from Loch Ness Knit Fest now, and had a really great time (although I’m struggling a bit with the inevitable post-yarn-festival exhaustion + lurgy combination that seems to strike so many of us down after a show… ). I’ve been very busy packing and sending out orders to everyone who pre-ordered a copy of Illuminated Knits from my website. We’re also arranging an official launch at Kathy’s Knits – more info on that in a moment but first, some pics from Loch Ness Knit Fest!

Here’s a quick pic I managed to get of my stand…


… and here I am with my lovely parents, who made the trip down all the way from Orkney (it was the first time they’d come to see me a knitting show, so they were very excited about it!):


(My Dad spent most of his time in my stall hiding behind my mannequins – very stealthy!):

I didn’t have time to chat to nearly as many folk as I would have liked to, but I did manage to get this quick snap with Cathy, the programmer behind Stitchmastery software (which I use for charting) and the Knitmastery app (we’re wearing our matching Dunedin shawls!):


We will be having an official book launch for Illuminated Knits at Kathy’s Knits (Broughton Street, Edinburgh) on Thursday 26th October, from 5pm to 7pm – everyone is welcome to come along! We’ll have all the samples on display and I’ll be signing copies of the book and talking about the designs. Hope to see you there!




Durrow shawl


It’s been a while in the making, but I’m pleased to announce the third design in the Illuminated Knits collection is finally here – the Durrow shawl!

This design took several months to conceptualise and bring into reality. I think it might be fair to say that it’s the most complex design I’ve ever created – both in terms of the cable pattern itself, and the knitting required to achieve it. I’m very happy with the end result though, and glad that I persevered even when it was completely refusing to make sense!

In keeping with the other designs in the Illuminated Knits collection, Durrow uses a technique of cables mixed with slip stitches to create a contrast colour design – I love this technique, because it gives you the chance to play around with different colours without actually having to use stranded knitting or intarsia. The colour-work is as simple as striping the colours on each round, and remembering to slip stitches when necessary (like mosaic knitting). This is the technique that I also used in the Iona blanket and Lindisfarne shawl.

One slightly finicky thing about this technique is that it does draw the fabric in a little bit (vertically, because of the slipped stitches), and so the fabric becomes much denser as a result. Because cable knitting also a tendency to do this (particularly the type of complex cables I use, where the rate of horizontal travel can be quite extreme), I decided to only use this technique when working in the round. Why? Because when you work in the round, you can change colours on every round, so the contrasting stitches only need to be slipped over one round. When you use this technique whilst knitting flat, you can only really change colours every 2 rows (so that your yarn ends up in the right place to strand up the side), so the contrasting stitches have to be slipped over 2 rows instead – creating even more pull-in and a denser fabric (there are ways of getting around this, so that you can knit flat whilst changing colours on every row, instead of every other row – however this is a bit complicated to describe and not something I wanted to do throughout an entire design; I have used it a little bit in this pattern though… more on that in a bit!).

So, with these constraints in mind, I began to think about how I could use this slipped stitch colour technique in a triangular shawl. It is possible to knit a triangle shape entirely in the round (if from the centre out, for example. by concentrating increases at three evenly spaced points on each round); however, this will produce something more like an equilateral triangle, not the right-angled shape more commonly made (and worn!) by knitters. After a lot of head-scratching, I realised that this problem could be solved by making a border out of modular squares (which can be knitted in the round), with picked up stitches for the body (which can be knitted flat, and shaped like a traditional right-angled triangular shawl).

Here are some of my notebook sketches that show my efforts to work out a suitable square knot for the border (I wanted to use two different coloured cable strands, so I was trying to figure out one knot that could flow across the entire border, and then another self-contained background knot that only occurs once in each square):

I realised that I could make the cable pattern flow all the way across the border if I alternated centre-out and centre-in squares. This helps to avoid the half-stitch jog (illustrated by Joni Coniglio) that will occur if you try to graft/pick up and knit stitches from pieces of knitting where the direction of knitting is opposite. Alternating centre-out and centre-in means that the direction of knitting across the squares, at the edges, is always maintained and so the cable flow perfectly. This picture probably shows it more clearly than I can describe:


The squares on the far left and far right are both knitted centre-out; then the live stitches at the edges have been used, along with 2 provisional cast-ons, to start the middle square which is knitted from the outside to the centre. If you look closely at the edges of the middle square, you should be able to see how the main cable (in turquoise) flows seamlessly across all of the squares.

Also, you can see in the above photo how I’ve used slightly different colours for the background yarn of each square; this creates a nice gradient-type effect, and is one of the fun possibilities that arises from working the border in a series of modular squares. However, I think the border would also look lovely with only one background colour (the main reason I used three was simply because I couldn’t choose between them!).

This construction schematic shows the order of centre-out and centre-in squares, with the arrows showing the direction of knitting:


You may remember earlier, when I was describing the problem with using this slipped stitch technique whilst knitting flat… well, I ran into this problem when trying to design knots for the corners (the corners are the bits at either end of the border, shown in both the above and the following schematics):


I decided to only continue the main cable pattern to the corners, and drop the self-contained background cable (a sacrifice to try to keep the level of complexity down! It would have been possible to include the background cable too, but I tried knitting it myself and nearly tore my hair out, so I figured other knitters might also find it a bit frustrating). The difficulty arises because these corners need to be knitted flat (you start from the outside and work decreases inwards to make the right-angle triangle shape, rather like the body of the shawl but in miniature). So, to get the working yarn to end up in the right place so that you can change colour every row (instead of every 2 rows), you need to work 2 RS rows followed by 2 WS rows. This makes some WS cables necessary, but I was able to write the pattern in such a way that these are kept to a minimum.


After the border has been knitted, and the body picked up along the edges and worked upwards with decreases towards the neck edge, the top edge is finished with an i-cord cast-off and the outer border edge is finished with a lace edging (both visible in the above photo).


After spending so long on perfecting the design of this shawl, I felt a sense of melancholy (mixed with a bit of relief!) when I cast off the last stitch. It always feels a bit strange to finish such a large and complex project, but I’m looking forward to diving into my next (and final) Illuminated Knits design.

I will be exhibiting the sample of Durrow (along with most of my other knitted samples!) at the upcoming Edinburgh Yarn Festival (March 10th and 11th). I’ll be at stand J1 in the marketplace, so please come and say hi if you see me!


All about Escher – Metamorphose Cowl


When I was approached by Miss Babs to contribute a design to her 2016 Knitting Tour, and given the Netherlands as my country of inspiration, I knew instantly where to look for ideas: the work of the Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher.

I’ve loved M. C. Escher’s work for as long as I can remember; possibly for longer than I was aware of his name, as he is one of those artists whose work is so distinctly unique (so much so that Escheresque exists as an adjective to describe artistic works derivative of his own) that its presence is still felt in popular culture (see, for example, the end scene of the 1986 film Labyrinth, inspired by Escher’s Relativity); to the extent that, even if you’ve never heard of Escher, you would likely recognise one of his prints.

Escher is known for his artistic explorations of mathematical concepts such as impossible objects, infinity, perspective, and hyperbolic geometry, which he executed in finely detailed wood-cuts, lithographs and mezzotints.

I find Escher fascinating as an artist, and as a person, mainly because of his astonishing mathematical intuition (and his humble attitude towards it). He always played down his mathematical abilities, pointing out that he had never excelled in it as a subject at school, and had no love of algebra, yet somehow he frequently gravitated towards exploring mathematical subjects through visual means.(see this lecture from Oxford University for a fascinating look at Escher’s intuitive grasp of these subjects).

Escher became obsessed with tessellations (which he referred to as ‘regular divisions of the plane’) after visiting the Alhambra and sketching the decorations there. When asked in 1951 about the symbolism in his print Day and Night, Escher replied:

“I think I have never yet done any work with the aim of symbolising a particular idea, but the fact that a symbol is sometimes discovered or remarked upon is valuable for me, because it makes it easier to accept the inexplicable nature of my hobbies, which constantly preoccupy me.

The regular division of the plane into congruent figures evoking an association in the observer with a familiar natural object is one of these hobbies or problems. This is really all there is to say about Day and Night. I have embarked on this geometric problem again and again over the years, trying to throw light on different aspects each time. I cannot imagine what my life would be like if this problem had never occurred to me; one might say that I am head over heels in love with it, and I still don’t know why.”

It’s worth noting that Escher specifies here ‘the regular division of the plane into congruent figures evoking an association in the observer with a familiar natural object‘, i.e. his obsession was not merely regular tessellation but involved finding tessellating shapes (‘jigsaw pieces’, as he referred to them sometimes) that evoked the shapes of familiar creatures or objects. Most often he played around with the shapes of birds, fish and reptiles, morphing in and out of negative space in increasingly complex ways, sometimes approaching infinity.

The sort of repeating patterns that are used to decorate fabric are, by their very nature, tessellations; indeed, all knitting stitch patterns are tessellations! When I began designing Metamorphose, I knew that I wanted to evoke that gradual morphing of shapes, emerging from negative space and almost becoming recognisable objects. I stopped short of trying to evoke an actual recognisable object, due to the complexity of knitting that this would involve! As always, when designing I’m trying to strike a balance between something that matches the idea in my mind, and is yet still enjoyable to knit without being too complicated. In this case, I sketched a basic morphing tessellation based on a triangle shape; reverse stocking stitch and seed stitch provide an alternating pattern (like the black and whites in Escher’s prints).


The cowl/infinity scarf is worked as a seamless tube, with the ends grafted together with a twist, to form a Mobius-like loop. I feel like Escher would have been quite intrigued by the potential of knitted fabric to explore concepts like Mobius loops, tessellation and infinity. The way that the tessellating shapes repeat around the tube is very satisfying (albeit, a little tricky – some beginning-of-round marker shifts are necessary at points where the cables cross from one round to the next).

Delving into the world of Escher for inspiration for this design was great fun, and something I hope to return to in the future. I feel like there are a lot of possibilities for complex tessellating cable knitting, and I’d like to explore them.

Thanks to Miss Babs for inviting me on her Knitting Tour (and for the beautiful Killington yarn that she dyed in a special colourway for this design – fittingly named ‘Escher’).

Edited to add: if you’re interested in learning more about M. C. Escher, this documentary is a great starting point.





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 lucy@lucyhague.co.uk 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!