Betwixtmas Make-A-Long | More Tips

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting | Posted on 24-12-2018

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Have you already cast on the Betwixtmas shawl? Could you not resist that sumptuous hank of Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply? There is only so long that you can stroke and stare at yarn before it simply has to be on your needles, we understand. If you are waiting for the Betwixtmas period (in-between Christmas and New Year) well done for resisting!
Before you do begin, have you read the shawl designer, Bronagh Miskelly’s guest blog post? For anyone who is unsure about knitting a flat piece of knitting on circular needles, it is really easy to do. You use your circular needle like it is two straight needles. Watch our video of Barbara below.

If the yarn has caught your eye it is King Cole Riot DK that Barbara popped on the needles for this demo.

If you haven’t already, it might be worth practicing the cast on method with a half ball /oddment from your stash. Prior to casting on with your chosen Betwixtmas shawl yarn. We have put together a little video to give you an idea of how this should look when you are doing it too.


Don’t forget to join in the chat for the Betwixtmas shawl on our Black Sheep Make-A-Long Facebook group.


What is a Make Along?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting | Posted on 21-12-2018

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A make along? Whatever is this, you might ask? Many of you will have heard this term in the knitting and crochet world and for others it something completely new. Let me try and explain what a make along (sometimes Make-A-Long) is all about. Here goes…..
A make along is when a pattern is released with all of the details required to make the design, along with a start date. Usually a blogger, yarn company or yarn store will do this and set a date for everyone to begin their project together. There will be a yarn suggestion and opportunity to purchase said yarn prior to the make along commencing. It brings a community spirit to a project, allowing people from all over the world to join in and make something, knowing that others are doing the same somewhere else in the world. More often than not you will find a dedicated Faecbook group or Ravelry group to share your progress and discuss the project with fellow crafters. A bit like going to a virtual knit and natter group, but you can go at any time of day. If you have a question you can ask away, or you may find that someone else has already asked when you scroll through the group. It is nice to have a browse of what yarn or shade others of chosen for a spot of inspiration. Even if there is an end date on a make along, it doesn’t really end because you can still cast on at a later date (so long as the pattern is still available). Plus, you don’t need to rush and makes mistakes because everyone works at their own pace. It is a friendly and relaxed way of coming together as knitters and crocheters.
You may have also heard – knit along and crochet along. A couple more alongs to add into the mix. These are normally projects where the pattern is released in sections over a period of weeks or months. For example our crochet along blankets with Cherry Heart Spice of Life and A Spicier Life. These patterns are still available and a few years on we still enjoy adding new members to the Facebook groups who are just about to begin the blankets.

We have picked a selection of examples of make along projects that you might find of interest, including a rather special one that is just on the horizon.

Obviously, we have to start with the Black Sheep Betwixtmas Shawl Make-A-Long. This is a free pattern to download, designed by Bronagh Miskelly and it is knitted in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply.If you would prefer to use a yarn from your stash or an alternative 4ply, then you can do. That is the great thing about a make along it is relaxed and inclusive for everyone. This make along starts on 24th December 2018. Find more info on our Betwixtmas page.

Betwixtmas Shawl Make-A-Long 2018 | Black Sheep Wools

Lilla Bjorn blogger and designer, Tatsiana released her make along the ‘Esja Sweater‘ in November this year. A crochet make along in Scheepjes Our Tribe. Tatsiana chose to break the pattern up into weekly sections, but the full pattern is also available to purchase. Tatsiana has a Facebook group where you can go for advice and support whilst making the sweater.

Lilla Bjorn Image

The Scheepjes and Canadutch make along earlier this year was fab because it gave both knitters and crocheters the opportunity to join in. Designer and blogger Canadutch came up with a shawl design that could be made in a knitting pattern – Read Between the Lines and crochet – Crochet Between the Lines. The patterns are available as leaflets by Scheepjes and you will need two balls of Scheepjes Whirl.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting | Posted on 13-12-2018

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Have you seen our Betwixtmas shawl? It is a delicate lace design, combined with simple stocking stitch, knitted in a hank of Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply. This is a project to cast on in between Christmas and New Year.
The designer of the shawl is Bronagh Miskelly. She is kindly put together a blog post with her top tips on knitting the shawl. We would recommend having a practice of the crochet cast on method with scrap yarn before you commence knitting the shawl. With Bronagh’s hints and tips to hand you should have all your questions answered. Don’t forget to share your progress in our Black Sheep Wools Facebook Make-A-Long group. We can’t wait to see which shade of the delicious Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply yarn you have chosen.

Betwixtmas Shawl Make-A-Long 2018

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips
Guest Blog by Bronagh Miskelly


Getting started with your Betwixtmas Shawl

If you haven’t made a triangular shawl before, there maybe a couple of things that you aren’t familiar with, so here are a couple of tips to help you along.

But don’t worry, there is nothing complicated in this shawl, if you can knit, purl and put your yarn over a needle you are ready for anything in the pattern.

Getting started

The first thing the pattern asks you to do is to crochet a chain of 4 sts in some spare yarn and place these on you knitting needle before knitting them with the main yarn.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

This is a provisional cast on method, which is a way of having stitches at both ends of a section of knitting. Once you have worked a number of rows (a total of five in this case) you unravel the chain of crochet to reveal live stitches at the bottom of your piece of knitting.

If you are worried about dropping stitches when you unravel your crochet, us a spare needle to pick up the stitch loops before you remove the spare yarn (as shown below). It is a good idea to use a smooth yarn for your crochet stitches so it is easy to remove.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

Once you have revealed your stitches from the provisional cast on, they work just like any other stitches. In this case you knit the three original stitches, pick up some down the side of what you have knitted so far and then knit the three from the provisional cast on. This means you have worked stitches round three sides of your piece of knitting creating a small curve that forms the centre back of the shawl that you will work outwards from.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

Stitch markers

The pattern sets the position for three stitch markers. It may feel quite crowded to have three markers when you only have 9 or 13 stitches.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

However, these three makers help you put the yarn over increases in the right place and rapidly become more spaced out because the yarnovers add four extra stitches on every right side row which is what makes the shawl grow.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

Checking your shawl shaping

I recommend using a circular needle for this shawl even though you are working in rows. This is partly because you end up with a lot of stitches but also because it is difficult to see the shape of the shawl developing and to check your yarnovers are correctly lined up.

Here the start of a shawl is spread out along the cable of a circular needle. This allows us to see that the garter stitch sections at each end in fact create a single long side of the shawl and that the centre set of yarnovers create a spine down the centre of the shawl to the final point.

Betwixtmas Shawl Top Tips

As your shawl grows the shape will become more obvious and it is important that your yarn overs always line up.