SEAknitting by Stella E. Ackroyd

Knitwear designer and professional pattern writer

Matilda Scarf

Today the 500th member of the Loveknitting Community started to follow me and I decided to celebrate by offering my Matilda scarf pattern as a free download for one month only from today, so please feel free to head over to the link below to click & collect this lovely design just in time for the pending change of season!

Matilda is worked in an easy-to-remember textured stitch which produces a pretty chequered pattern on the right side and cosy rib effect to the reverse. The scarf will knit up quickly and looks great when layered with another one in different shades – hard to imagine in August that there could ever be a need for such a warming device! It’s meant to be wide and snuggly (almost like a tied snood), but could of course be made longer if you prefer –  just remember to buy more yarn and keep on knitting until you have run out!

Pattern available to download free of charge until 25/09/2017 from the following link:

https://www.loveknitting.com/matilda-textured-scarf-knitting-pattern-by-seaknitting

Lobster Pot

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I know that lots of people don’t like sewing up garments, but we all know that sometimes it has to be done in order to achieve a well-fitting garment. Seams provide a framework, they’re like a skeleton to a body, it’s as simple as that! With this in mind (and bearing in mind that even I would prefer to knit than sew), I came up with this design: as beautifully fitting, well structured jacket with no sewing-up except for with the sleeves at the very end of the project.

It’s a bit like skiing: you can enjoy those blue and red runs all day long, but you know darned well that the final descent of the day, down in to the resort, involves a black!! What’s the point of worrying all day about getting home? You may as well enjoy the fun part and hone your skills on the familiar sport and then face the final short dread, safe in the knowledge that you will get home and eventually go to bed that night knowing that you have achieved something out of your comfort zone.

There ends the lecture! Essentially, this jacket is worked in one long, quite narrow strip which fits around the lower body. The button bands and border are worked integrally and advice is given to avoid having loose ends on the opening edges. The waistband is then picked up and knitted in a tighter tension and the upper body remains in the tighter tension with a variant textured pattern (because it runs up nicely from the lower body and I was wanting to try a different stitch by the time I got there). Shoulders are joined with a 3 needle cast-off and the neckband is designed to be as neat as it possibly can be. At the point of casting off the neckband, you have a fully joined and finished body. It’s a bit like being at the top of that black run. All you have to do now is quickly make the stocking stitch sleeves (which have a lovely firm moss stitch cuff) and sew them in!

I used two strands of yarn to sew on the buttons, which I think look like beady lobster eyes in a very pleasing kind of way and felt really proud to wear it for the first airing on Wednesday.

It’s warm enough to wear as a jacket and the perfect fit to cover up over dresses or jeans. Such a fun knit, which was easy to work: tv knitting at its best, I’d say!

Pattern available for purchase from:

https://www.loveknitting.com/lobster-pot-knitting-pattern-by-seaknitting

or:

Lobster Pot

31st December, 2016.

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My latest pattern release is Border Ballad; I published the pattern on Ravelry two weeks ago and immediately missed knitting it, so decided to make another one over the Christmas period!
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The first scarf was knitted in Juniper Moon Farm Herriot (shade Travertine 09) and it is so soft it’s impossible to describe! The garter stitch base makes for a super luxurious feel and my scarf was perfect for festive visits, where that extra touch of elegance really makes a difference.
Border Ballad II was crafted out of West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester Naturals DK. It’s the first time I’ve used this yarn and I was impressed at its ability to block and retain stitch definition. The short rows and easy-to-remember lace pattern made for a pleasing knit over the Christmas period, when the house was uncommonly full of visitors and friends. The increases and decreases in the pattern are placed at handy points in the repeat so I found it easy to progress without reference to the pattern and the whole thing was finished in just six days!
I have more exciting projects on my needles and the moment and hope to post more updates early in the New Year.
I’ll look forward to seeing you here! Stella

30th September, 2016

We are well past the Equinox now and the days are becoming noticeably shorter and the days cooler and fresher. Just the time to publish my latest design, Quercus, then!

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I really enjoyed designing and knitting these two shawls (actually, three – I couldn’t stop making them once I’d started!)(just haven’t photographed the Manos Del Uruguay Lace SemiSolid one yet), they are just so much fun to make! The leaves emerge cleverly from the central spine and then gently topple from the minimal edging in such a pleasing way, I couldn’t stop thinking of Autumn and the lovely leaves which are beginning to fall gently in our orchard.

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I used Brooklyn Tweed Plains yarn for the first two shawls; they take just less than one skein each and the resulting fabric is a lovely snuggly foamy kind of wonder which blooms fantastically after blocking and has real integrity of structure – just like the great oak for which the design is named!

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Something tells me that it’s going to be a very chic Autumn this year…

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(Quercus pattern available to download from my Ravelry page: SEAknitting.)

12th September, 2016.

It’s back to work today after a very busy weekend in the country!

The family has been busy getting ready for the arrival of our Valais Blacknose sheep in a few day’s time; the field has been prepared and their shelter designed and semi-built. My husband is a very talented structural designer and he builds me things on request. I don’t think he ever expected one of those requests to be for a lambing shed and shelter, but that’s what I’ve got. I’ll post some photos once the roof is on, but in the meantime I think we’ll have to settle with Patience is a Virtue…

(I tried to post some photos of some of his other constructions, but it seems that the Internet fairies are out to lunch. I’ll persevere and hope to manage at least something before signing-off.)

Yesterday was spent at the lovely Whistlebare Farm in Northumberland. I have been designing some patterns with their yarn which are to be launched at the Yarndale wool festival in Skipton, Yorkshire, in the last week of September and we needed some more photos for the stand.

It was a lovely sunny day and we had a great time playing in the fields and with all of the animals. The model was lovely to work with and I think the images reflect the calm and happy atmosphere of the shoot.

I’m afraid that the picture import device really is on strike today; I have been trying to upload some images of Pan Haggerty for you – they are some really cute ones with the goats – but I just can’t do it. Please feel free to find them on my Ravelry page SEAknitting.

More news later in the week, along with some photos of the new shelter and the SHEEP!

 

 

 

 

8th September, 2016.

It’s more than a month since I set pen to paper on here; August was spent in a flurry of ‘secret’ knitting and pattern writing, so I really COULDN’T share anything with you all, but now that’s over I can show you the products of the last two weeks and am happy to present:

KIRKSTONE

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Inspired by the winding route of the Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District, which my husband and I travel along frequently, Kirkstone was designed for my 22 year old daughter who, aware of the fact that Autumn is just around the corner, asked me to make her a cosy cowl to go with her Barbour jacket when she’s out walking her working spaniel pup in the frosty mornings to come. She’s thrilled with the result and I can see some more requests looming from her housemates…

Knitted in the round in Madelinetosh Merino Light yarn, Kirkstone is quick to make and the resultant fabric is wonderfully drapey when blocked, giving just the right amount of fabric to be cosy and feminine at the same time.

Yesterday saw the release of my second pattern this month:

PIXIE

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This was really fun to make – I really enjoyed it! I often make hats as gifts for friends when they are expecting a baby and wanted a design which would be suitable for both boys and girls and which I could introduce as a learner project for those friends who want to make larger sizes as their little treasures grow.
Pixie is the result. It’s kind of modern Scandinavian and classic European at the same time and I think it is truly practical for any young tot. I included instructions for tie fastenings and a buttoned strap so that people can choose their preference (or make one of each style) and even the largest hat is worked in much less than one 50 gm ball of fingering weight yarn. The back edge is worked in a 3-needle cast off to avoid a bulky seam at the back of baby’s head and the hat’s proportions are snuggly but stable – I think it is perfect and I’m really pleased with the result!

At the moment we are preparing for our own addition to the family:

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Maple and Belinda are due to arrive next week, so Andrew and I are busy preparing the field. He is busy designing and building a shelter for them and I’m getting my painting gear on so that I can stain all of the boards. I’ll try to keep you informed, but don’t worry if you don’t hear from me for a while – it just means I’m lamb-sitting!
Photos of les adorables coming very soon.

19th July, 2016.

I have been busy making a bonnet for my friend’s new baby. She is exactly a week old today and I thought she could do with a little hat because the Summer has (up until literally today) been very disappointing here in the far North of England. To be precise, it has been cold, wet and windy, but I don’t want to dwell on that too much….

Made in Rowan Wool Cotton 4 ply, the resultant hat is a perfect addition to any baby’s wardrobe; the yarn is soft & bulky and perfect for all year round wear. It took just one afternoon to make and I really enjoyed experimenting with contrast colours for the tips of the strap ties. These could easily be worked in the main shade, but I thought this detail added a fun modern twist to what must surely be a classic design.

Unfortunately, we don’t have a baby here to model my work, so I thought you’d like this snap of the bonnet in blocking (yes, it’s on a spare 100gm ball of Babylonglegs Boo Sock – a perfect way to block a small hat, as it absorbs moisture but gives a gentle shape to the finished item)
(what a Top Tip that is!):


I’m off to the Post Office now to get this and a few other little gifts in the post to that special girl in London!

14th July, 2016.

One of the downsides of living in the country is connectivity. Such a thing has affected us over the last two days and we have been woefully lacking in enough internet speed to upload or download even the smallest of files.
We seem to have been cured this morning, so I can quickly check in here before heading over to the pattern checking bench (aka the Check Point), where a whole pile of knitting patterns are waiting to be edited before they go to print.
One of the upsides of living in the country is that we are surrounded by wildlife and natural sites of beauty, so it is easy to find inspiration for my designs every day on our walks with our giant schnauzer, Sooty (pictured here in the woods next to the house).
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My latest shawl design is one such inspiration; echoing the soft flow of lapping water as it plays on the bankside, Sweethope is named after a local reservoir which we sometimes visit in Summer. Pretty in a floral shade of pink, I have been using it lots in the cooler evenings – the drape of stocking stitch around my shoulders is a perfect comfort for an evening chat in the orchard (or stroll over to the neighbours’ for a social catch-up before the Autumn evenings begin to draw in), whilst the pretty lace edging was fun to knit and absorbing to look at.
More photos soon, but for now let’s try out this up-loader thing again:

11th July, 2016

And so here we are! I have arrived at my new blog site. It has been rather confusing to set up, but this is where I’ll based from now on and I’m going to start in earnest by telling you all about my Sweethope shawl.
That will be tomorrow, but for now I’d like to start my new blog with a few photographs from the happy years I spent in the design room at Rowan Yarns in Holmfirth. Here are some photos of the girls and I, taken from Magazine numbers 24 and 34, which I think capture the family in our knitterly happiness:

Technical problems

OK. I’ve become a bit despondent. I accidentally deleted my last post (which I was very fond of) and, as a result, have kind of taken my bat and ball home.

This is no good. I like writing my blog (even if it sometimes feels like it’s just me talking to myself in the orchard)(actually, it feels exactly like that, which is probably why I like it) and it’s not good to deny myself, so I’ve decided to re-post the photos from the last post, along with some more up-to-date ones (which will let me see how the fruit trees are coming along) and then I will be ready to upload some pictures of my new design, Linnea, which is a great tunic/vest which I recently took along on my trip to Sweden.

Archive photos first:

Updated photos now (just a few of them, but it makes me happy!):

Don’t worry, full details of my new design to follow VERY soon, but here’s a little glimpse:

 

 

 

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