Lucy Neatby - Tradewind Knitwear Designs - Spun Yarn 37
Lucy Tradewind Knitwear Designs Newsletter


February 2011

Highland Cattle on Tancook Island
Dear Knitters,
It's hard to describe all that has been going on around here since last I wrote. I'm adjusting rather well to not living out of a suitcase. December was its usual whirlwind of catching up with myself, not aided in the least by an unscheduled trip to the UK to sign my mother's plaster cast! She's had a broken ankle, which is no fun at any time and especially not at 92.

Ready for needle quilting

Snow in Great Britain I was between knitting projects and didn't want to launch into one in an unconsidered (i.e. rushed) manner, so I grabbed my first-ever quilt which, most comnveniently, was at the stage of needing stitching, and I decided to hand stitch it whilst over in the UK. At the end of my visit, I was incredibly lucky: I managed to leave the UK for Nova Scotia just as the first of several debilitating snowstorms broke. Gatwick was closed for several days, but I squeaked out of Heathrow just in time.

Bad luck...
For my next entertainment, I had a most exciting wisdom tooth extraction as soon as I returned. It's rather hard to schedule bodily maintenance and potential recovery time whilst on the road, so this was the time to get it done. Unfortunately the extraction turned into a dreaded 'dry socket': that is a sensation that has to be experienced to be believed! I don't recommend it unless you really have a serious crush on your dentist.

Distraction of a good kind...
Quilt for footstool I distracted myself by working on another quilt, this time for the cottage (rather than the cat), having just discovered the philosophy of quilting according to Gwen Marston. 'Liberated quilting' she calls it, and she is right. It's wonderful fun: you just let it flow and don't take the angles too seriously. For more on my quilting odyssey see my blog post. I have currently severed my intimacy with fabric in favour of skiing. Snow waits for no woman, but I can't wait to get back to quilting again.

Christmas concert At Christmas-time, I made a drop-in visit over to Big Tancook Island especially for the school concert. This is an event that tops the Oscars for me. This year the ranks were swelled to nine children performing (last year only five) so there was no need of a cardboard cut-outs for the wise men! Once again they blew me away: the children performed for two hours continuously, a mix of songs, plays and solos. The lisping, oh-so-serious 5 year old Mary, 'heavy with child', was a show-stealer.

Here in Nova Scotia we were luckily unhindered by weather, so my flock of children were safely gathered in for Christmas, which was a delight. My, they do take up a lot of space these days! Where time goes over this period is hard to fathom; it resembles a telescope, stretching out in front of you almost endlessly, and then suddenly it becomes very short and is gone and you are back at the airport kissing them goodbye.

Most of my patterns are now available as pdf downloads!
New style pattern The new year sees us almost into a brave new world at last. After two and a half years of pattern conversion, almost all the patterns that are going to be converted are now done and available on Patternfish, Ravelry and The Knitting Vault. This is a wonderful point to reach, and going digital also opens up the possibility of being able to supply a limited number of patterns in French in the future. We'll keep you posted.

Exciting news: We are now able to provide interactive knitting patterns! One of the problems with the DVD filming process is having to have all the swatches ready, and to film continuously for several days back to back, so that the film crew can then move on to their next job. It's very difficult to include many spontaneous real-life knitting situations in this format. But now ... my dear husband (of many, many years standing) suddenly reveals himself to have hidden talents in the film-making department: he has kindly set up a film studio in a spare bedroom, silver umbrellas and all. Now, when I reach a critical or fiddly bit of a pattern, we can immediately film the gory details.

Lucy on YouTube
We have put up a couple of small clips (Yarn-overs at the start of a row, Getting to Know your Australian Cousins) by way of practice. Our first significant clip is one that describes how to insert a double-layer thumb into a double knit mitten. A live link to this clip is now included in the #291 Pinstripe Mitten pattern. So, those of you reading your digital patterns on a computer, or on any other device with a web browser, can click on the link and go straight to the video-clip. Paper pattern users will have to type in the link.

These clips are accessible to all YouTube users, and appropriate links will be included in new patterns and will gradually find their way into some of the older ones. I hope they will add value to the patterns by making them more accessible to knitters (many of us are visual learners) and encourage everyone to try new techniques, my patterns and the DVDs. The clips will contain pattern-specific tricks and techniques, the sort of things not general enough in scope to put on a DVD. Stand by for more as time goes by! If you subscribe to my YouTube videos, you will be notified each time we post a new clip (there is a button just above the clip to sign up).

This edition of Spunyarn has been somewhat delayed; we were going to release it with the birth announcement of our shiny new website, which is due any day now. However, in the nature of one thing waiting on another, we have decided to send this now, and once the site is up and running, we'll send you a quick update. The new site is undergoing thorough testing as we speak. After this round of testing we will install it on a server, test it there, and when all works as it ought to, we go live.

Thank you for your continued support, and happy stitches,


P.S. Check out the pictures of our new outrageous bag, shot by Hillary Dionne with the help of Desdemona the Highland cow and her friends!

Product News

Pinstripe Double-Knit Mittens Pinstripe Double-Knit Mittens (#291) by Lucy Neatby (Available at Patternfish.

Now interactive!
The pdf downloadable version of this double knitting pattern now has a built-in link to a technique video!

Udderly Divine Bag #895 Udderly Divine Bag by Lucy Neatby (Available at Patternfish).

An outrageous bag for the light-hearted knitter. Worked in the round with integral strap loops made in the edge before moving into two-colour stranded knitting. The teats are knitted into the udder using waste yarn openings with an optional double-knitting method given to speed the knitting of the teats. The ardent knitter may even leave the tips of the teats slightly open to allow yarn to be dispensed through each one! The bag may be lightly felted for extra strength.

Yarn: Approximately 150g each of three colours of Cascade 220 (Yarn is used double throughout.)
Size: Medium and Large adjustable depth
Skill Level: Intermediate
Techniques: Two-colour stranded knitting, scallop openings, waste yarn openings, optional double-knitting and felting.
Price: $6.00

Review of Cool Knitters Finish in Style as featured in Knitty Magazine

Cool Knitters Finish in Style book

Quote: "Good finishing isn't well understood, precisely because it tends to get short shrift in books. A much-needed addition to the literature, Lucy's book covers all the techniques, tip and tricks you need to take your project "from homemade to handmade". Her advice is clear and clear-headed, practical and realistic. Charming sketches and diagrams make it all very easy to understand and learn, and help guide even the newest of knitters. The book contains lots of swatch-based exercises - and ends with a full baby cardigan pattern - to let you practice and explore the various techniques so you can get confident before you start messing with your own projects.

As always, Lucy goes deep while making even the most advanced topics approachable. She covers all key seaming methods, grafting, weaving in ends, and blocking in all its forms. She discusses short-row shoulder shaping in detail - explaining both the benefits and how to adapt an existing pattern. There's a very detailed breakdown of how to approach that most challenging of seams: setting in a sleeve. She fills in many of the details left out of patterns that help make the finishing task easier: appropriate cast-ons and cast-offs, selvages, and placement of increases and decreases. In each case, she not only discusses the how but also the why, so that knitters understand the rationale for a given technique, and then can also generalize and expand their knowledge to tackle other types of finishing challenges.

The section on picking up stitches for edgings is alone worth the price of the book; and then there are terrific chapters on steeking and fixing mistakes.

Being a practical sort, Lucy shares tips for making the finishing process easier and more rewarding, and makes an effort to help you understand where shortcuts can be taken, and where you need to take extra care. She also debunks a lot of knitting myths - spoiler alert: knots aren't necessarily evil!
Even the most experienced knitters and confident finishers will learn something from this book."

Knitting Tip

How to make a yarn-over at the beginning of a row

This is such a non-intuitive manoevre, but once you see it done: so simple! Many knitters have asked me for directions on how to do this kind of yarn-over, so we made two little how-to videos for you:

1. How to make a yarn-over at the beginning of a row before a knit stitch.

2. How to make a yarn-over at the beginning of a row before a purl stitch.


Most previous issues of Spun Yarn are archived on the website; type in (or copy and paste) the website address ( followed by the edition you wish to read: i.e. SY14.html or SY35.html, etc.

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