Betwixtmas Make Along 2019
The wait is over.....Betwixtmas 2019 is here and it is rather spectacular. We had such an incredible response last year from our very first Betwixtmas make along, we just had to do it all again. Keeping the pattern a secret has been tricky. We are always so eager to share at Black Sheep and finally we can spill the beans!
For anyone reading the beginning of this post and thinking what on earth are you talking about, Betwixtmas? Hold that thought, here is a quick rundown. Sara likes to cast on a nice easy going project on those days in between Christmas and New Year. Those days are what her friend calls 'Betwixtmas'. Which is where the inspiration came for a make along project. Take a look at Sara's video from last year introducing our first Betwixtmas pattern.
Betwixtmas is a very relaxed make along, the full pattern will be available to download for free from 11th December 2019 on our website. So if you want to you can start whenever you like, the full pattern will be there. We just liked the idea of everyone casting on their knitting together on Christmas Eve. Bringing a sense of community to the make along, sharing it with your fellow knitters on our Facebook Make Along group. Hopefully you won't have had one too many sherries because that could mean a stressful / mistake ridden cast on. Which is completely going against the relaxing nature of this project.
Carol Meldrum has designed the pattern this year, an absolutely fabulous knitted shawl in King Cole Natural Alpaca DK. Carol has been a friend of Black Sheep for many years. She has been teaching workshops at our Craft Barn for nearly 10 years. A warm and friendly tutor, her classes are always well received. Not only does Carol teach knitting and crochet workshops she is a talented designer too with knitting and crochet pattern books under her belt. We sent Carol a few questions to find out more about the shawl design and a few festive ones thrown in for good measure.
Can you share a quick rundown of your many knitting and crochet talents?
I've been extremely lucky and work continuously within the knitwear industry since graduating from Art School. As a designer in the manufacturing and hand knit side of things, helped run yarn shops, had the opportunity to write knit and crochet books. My favourite thing is workshops though, passing on skills and meeting fellow stitchy folk who share the same passion. I really enjoy being a tutor on knit and crochet holidays, where I can spend time with folk and really focus on the skills and techniques they want to learn.
We are so excited to be able to share your Betwixtmas 2019 shawl design with everyone. It is a truly striking design, knitted in the perfect winter yarn, soft and cosy alpaca. Can you tell us a bit about the structure of the design?
It's an elongated triangle shape, worked from the top down. You increase at either end of the row, and at the centre, moving the middle increases outwards to make a centre panel where the decorative lace panel is worked. The pattern is worked over a short repeat, so it's quickly remembered, and you feel as though you're making progress. The main techniques are yarn forward (yfwd) for the increase and teamed up with standard decrease either slanting to the left / right or straight up and down to make the lace design. There's lot's to keep you interested as you knit, and I've only added the increases and lace pattern on a right side row, so the brain and fingers can relax every second row!
Where did the inspiration for your shawl design come from?
Shawl design was inspired after a trip to the Faroe Islands. The capital city - Torshavn - is built on quite a steep slope, and still has traditional houses with grass on the roof for insulation. It was the layers of pointy roofs that caught my eye and inspired the lace pattern for the centre panel. Also travelling around the island, you can't help but be inspired by the surrounding mountains, they all seem to spring up into a point.
What level of knitter would you say the shawl is aimed at?
I'd say it's a great project for next step knitters to dip into as well as the more experienced. The pattern has a chart as well as written instructions. So as long as you have a basic knowledge of knit and purl, you'll soon have the hang of things.
How did you find the King Cole Alpaca DK to knit with?
A real delight working with the King Cole Alpaca DK it slipped along the needles nicely. It's extremely soft, has a wonderful drape and luxurious feel, perfect for accessories and wrapping up with.
It won’t be long before we are all casting on the shawl on Christmas Eve. Do you take a break from knitting and crochet over Christmas or will you be working on a project over the festive period?
I'm at home this Christmas so looking forward to a spot of down time, casting on and knitting something for me. At the moment I've plans to knit a Kate Davies design - Bluebell - I've lot's of Shetland 2ply in my stash that's been speaking to me over the past few months!
Do you ever make gifts for friends and family at Christmas? If so what have you made?
I go through phases of making gifts for Christmas, it depends how much time I have on the run up. Hat's gloves and shawls are my go to projects, but have been known to make the odd pair of crazy slippers.
What is your favourite yarn to knit in winter?
My all time favourite yarn, so not just winter is Rowan Felted Tweed DK. It ticks all the boxes for me, wonderful colour range that you can mix and match, great to work with and a fantastic meterage per 50 g ball (175m).
Do you have a favourite winter jumper, hat, scarf or maybe a pair of socks you have made, that you look forward to wearing every year?
Living in Scotland, a good woolly hat is essential, I love wearing my Inisheer hat. It's a chunky ribbed hat with a cable running up the side - inspired after a trip to The Aran Islands off the West Coast of Ireland on an Arena Travel Stichtopia trip, I'm looking forward to going back in April 2020 with Arena Travel, it's a beautiful part of the world, and you have to catch a boat which id fun! The patterns is available on my Ravelry page.
Will there be any knitted or crocheted Christmas decorations on your tree this year?
There are quite a few knit and crochet decorations on our tree, I keep adding to them each year!
Where can we follow you on social media?
Best place to find me on social media is Instagram. I've a website - beatknit.com - that's still being tweaked, and has links to all the other online places. If folk want to come say hello, it's Carol Meldrum on Ravelry.
Sara chats with Carol about the Betwixtmas shawl in the video below.