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Keep Calm and Cast On

Keep Calm and Cast On - Yellow

Every knitter knows this is the best possible advice in all circumstances. Even if you’re procrastinating by knitting, hey, at least you’ll have a jumper by the end of it! If you’re a strung out, tangled-up, deadline-bound knitwear designer, every time you look at this poster I hope it will remind you to take a deep breath and remember why you love knitting. See number 1? It’s calming. If you’re snowed under with Christmas knitting/shopping/carding, if you’re annoyed at someone, or if you’ve just been dumped (ahem), keep calm and cast on. Stiff upper lip, darlings.

Click on any of the thumbnails to download a PDF file of the poster. Then print away!

The crown design is from a slipover I started knitting years ago, by the way. I suspect it just needed to be seamed together, but it’s still sitting in a basket in Ankara. Funny how that happens…

Keep Calm and Cast On - Blue Keep Calm and Cast On - Pink Keep Calm and Cast On - Green Keep Calm and Cast On - Charcoal Keep Calm and Cast On - Purple Keep Calm and Cast On - Red

Grey Bank Holiday

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sixes cowl

Hello! Welcome to those of you who found me last weekend thanks to the lovely Julia. I hope I won’t disappoint! It’s Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK (a 3-day weekend, basically). I haven’t enjoyed weekends very much since I left school (whatever happened to saturday night?). For a start, I always get the urge to order yarn on Friday evening, just when I’ll have longest to wait for it. Then if I decide to go to the library, or to the supermarket, it’s always extra crowded. And then the internet is always so quiet (where do you all go? sniff). Besides, I’m not going to stop “working” just because it’s not a “workday” for most people! But well, thanks to Julia and the Twist Collective, this weekend was devoid of its usual tedium, and I was bouncing around in excitement instead. So welcome! :)

It’s another grey day here, but I hope you’re making the most of your long weekend (if you have one) to do some knitting. I felt like something quick and cosy yesterday & found this in my stash. I love Colinette so much. This is One Zero in the colourway ‘Banwy’ (I wish their website still had those charming blurbs, remember those?). I found myself driving (well, being driven) through Banwy the other day, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop and scout out the Colinette workshop. Anyway, I absolutely adore this colourway (though no photos can do it justice), in particular the inky blacks that look like they’ve been dripped onto a light mossy green pool. Welsh slate, mossy rocks, tenebrous woods, and (this is pure genius) the rosy glow of morning sunshine on limewash. How did they do it? How did those clever Colinette dyers manage to put all this in a yarn?

sixes cowl

You really don’t need to work hard to show it off. Sometimes the simplest thing is the best: stocking stitch (stockinette for Colinette, you might say). Wide and loose cowls seem to be in fashion this winter, but I like mine to actually keep my neck warm! And this is the perfect width for that. It’s jolly tricky taking photos of yourself with a manual focus 50mm lens, by the way.

There were so many sixes in this pattern, I decided to call it the Sixes Cowl, maybe it’ll make it easier for you to remember if you decide to knit one.

sixes cowl
sixes cowl

Simple Instructions for the Sixes Cowl

You might just be able to squeeze a cowl out of one hank of One Zero, but get a couple (or 6) just to be sure.
Gauge is also a bit tricky since One Zero is a thick & thin yarn, but mine is approx. 12 sts / 19 rows to 10cm/4in of stocking st.

Using 6mm 60cm circular needles,

Cast on 66 sts & join to work in the round.
Work in 1×1 rib for 6 rows.
Work in stocking stitch for 30cm / 12in (or however long you desire).
Work 6 rows in 1×1 rib.
Cast off in rib.
Weave in ends (my cowl is still umbilical).

sixes cowl

Easy, eh? Look at that sweet wobbly cast off! Because of the uneven nature of the yarn, your stocking stitch will have gentle waves. I recommend you enjoy it that way, rather than trying to block it flat. If you need help with circular knitting, read All About Circular Knitting. And did I mention you can wear it either way out?

colinette one zero in colourway 'banwy'sixes cowl

knitting desktop wallpaper

Just in case you haven’t got any One Zero handy though, and you can’t bear the wait, how about having a picture of it to warm up your desktop? You can download a large copy of the photo above from Flickr, which should shrink to size when you apply it to your desktop. If it doesn’t work though, let me know your screen resolution & I’ll see if I can whip up some specific sizes. :)

P.S. I was very tempted to call this ‘Cawl’ (pronounced ‘cowl’), which is a hearty Welsh soup made with leftovers. Just the thing after a long damp walk. But then I thought (cowls being addictive) that maybe I’ll knit another cowl to call Cawl, what do you think? ;)

31st August, 2009  // Inspiration, Neckwear, Yarn // tags: , , , , .

The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches

Don’t you love looking through books of stitch patterns for knitting inspiration? I often keep a few next to my bedside and flick through them before I fall asleep. Stitch patterns are a brilliant opportunity to practice, learn new techniques, and begin to solve the mystery of how stitches create different fabrics. They’re often a good starting point for designs too, especially if you don’t yet have the time or expertise to discover your own.

I’ve selected six stitch patterns to highlight knitted texture, lace, and ribbing, and because I wanted to make this booklet extra useful, each of the stitches is photographed on the right side and the wrong side (I haven’t seen this done before, but I wish more publications would adopt the practice), and I offer additional tips and advice to help you on your way.

Whether you’re a beginner or a bored expert, I think you’ll enjoy The Little eBook of Knitting Stitches. I’m offering it as a free gift to subscribers of the Laylock mailing list. I will send you occasional emails with knitting tips, but if you’d really rather not subscribe, write me an email & I’ll send you the PDF file anyway. Just because. :)

The eBook contains:

  • 6 stitch patterns
    • 2 texture
    • 2 lace
    • 2 rib stitches
  • photographed on both right & wrong sides
  • laid out with clear instructions & advice on usage.


Please enter your email address below so I know where to send your download link!

Subscribing is completely free, I will never ever share your email address with anyone else, and of course I will never spam you!

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