Friday, 28 August 2015

Allotment knits

Knit Now magazine issue 51 has hit the shelves, so I'm pleased to introduce the Artichoke Beret and the Trellis and Vine Jumper, two designs from the Allotment Knits collection. It's my first foray into curation for the magazine, in which I set the theme and was part of the team that chose the designs.

Artichoke Beret by Anni Howard
Photo © Practical Publishing

The Artichoke Beret is knitted in Kettle Yarn Co Islington DK with a contrast pompom in KYC Twist 4ply. It is knitted in the round, with k2, p2 ribs and a clever lace design that grows progressively smaller as it nears the crown, just like the petals of an artichoke in fact. I love this yarn - the 55% Superwash BFL and 45% silk construction results in a smooth, soft yarn with a gorgeous sheen. It takes just one skein of the Islington DK (£19 per 100g skein from here). I used a finer weight yarn for the pompom as I feel it gives a more professional effect and the Twist 4ply was ideal. You could use yarn from your stash for the pompom instead, just choose a contrasting bright shade.

Trellis and Vine by Anni Howard
Photo © Practical Publishing

The Trellis and Vine Jumper is knitted in Rowan Softknit Cotton - it's soft and drapey but with good stitch definition, so produces the texture of the front panel beautifully while also giving a smooth stocking stitch.

The idea behind the front panel is that dichotomy within all gardens - we attempt to control nature with grids and beds and trellis, but nature grows where it likes and won't be contained. So here the vine panels sit outside of the trellis panel. The sides of the jumper are shaped for a flattering fit, and I designed the sleeves as 3/4 length, because no-one wants their lovingly crafted knitwear to trail in the mud when weeding.

Choosing a varied range of designs for the collection was an interesting experience, not least of which was the bumper crop of wonderful carroty designs, including one by me. As we couldn't include them all, which should we leave out? In the end this design ended up on the compost heap, but I'm intending to one day reuse the stitch pattern in a new design - if I ever have the time!

Parsnips and Carrots
original design 
© Anni Howard

I was really excited to be asked by Kate at Knit Now to curate this collection. Read more about the process in the magazine - in stores now, or to buy a digital edition, visit pocketmags.comAnd you can see the inspiration on my Allotment Pinterest board here.

And finally, for your delectation and a bit of non-knitty, this-is-not-an-allotment surrealism, and just because ... here's an allotment inspired Bento box ... :D

Bento box and photos © Anni Howard

Sunday, 8 February 2015

... and the winner is ...

Thank you to everyone who entered the Cublington giveaway to win 600g of Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran - the winner is B Livingstone, whose name Dave drew out of my Flower Beret a few moments ago. If B Livingstone is you, mighty congratulations, and please get in touch so I can get your prize to you. :D

Sorry to those that didn't win but maybe I'll have another giveaway soon, so keep watching ... 

Putting the names in the hat
Dave holding the hat
Pulling the name out of the hat

The winner!!!

Thursday, 8 January 2015


My Cublington Tunic and Cowl are published in issue 43 of Knit Now magazine today (8th January), and to celebrate I've got a giveaway for you lovely knitters. You could win enough Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran to knit the tunic and/or the cowl for yourself - 12 balls in the colour shown in the photos, worth over £60.

© Dan Walmsley for 
Practical Publishing

Ok, a bit of an admission - when Kate the editor of Knit Now asked how much yarn I would need, I overestimated ... slightly. The lovely people at Designer Yarns said I could add the extra yarn to my stash. Normally I'm happy to 'improve' my stash, obviously, but I thought it only fair that I should pass it on - to you.
© Dan Walmsley for
Practical Publishing

The tunic is shaped at the sides and armholes, and has a low round neck, making it ideal to wear over a thinner jumper or long-sleeved dress. It is worked in stocking stitch and rib with a cable panel up the centre front. The coordinating cowl is separate so you can take it off indoors, and it's long enough to wrap twice round your neck when you venture out into the cold.

In case you are wondering, Cublington is the name of a village in Buckinghamshire, England. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book, but then, for reasons unknown, moved from its original site to the current location some time in the Middle Ages. Evidence of the first village including the remains of a small castle and the original church can still be seen. Visit the Cublington website here to discover more about the "village that moved."

Ok, so what do you have to do to win the yarn? All I ask is that you leave a comment about Cublington (the tunic, the cowl or the "village that moved") on this blog before the 5th February when the next issue of Knit Now is published. I'll draw one comment out of a (hand knitted) hat over the weekend of the 7th/8th of February, publish the name of the winner and contact you for your address. Royal Mail will do the rest!

So, add your comment here, and good luck!