New Pattern Release: Muireann

She’s finally here! The top-down girls’ cardigan you’ve been waiting for. Or, at least, the pattern I’ve been taking ages to release to you.

I wrote this pattern in 2011 and it’s been in the back of my mind since then to get it into shape for general release. I had it test-knit over the summer and that was helpful in highlighting a number of issues. But it was really only when I recently started making time for design work every morning that I was able to give the pattern the focus it needed to re-write it.

Introducing Muireann

Introducing Muireann

Introducing Muireann

Muireann is a top-down girls’ cardigan with ribbed bodice and feather-and-fan lace swing that started with the buttons! My daughter fell in love with beautiful ceramic buttons in the shape of dolphins. Blue-variegated yarn was quickly purchased and a sea-themed jacket was promised.

The girls’ name Muireann (pronounced Mwih-RhaN) is derived from the Irish words for “muir” which means ‘sea’; and “fionn” meaning ‘white’ or ‘fair’. True to its name, the combination of the color-changes and the shaping of this jacket re-create a “fair sea” for the dolphins.

The colour-changes of the yarn on the bodice are like the play of sunlight on a deep, blue sea. When the structured ribbing reaches the empire line the change of gauge to ridged feather stitch allows the fabric to flare. The ridged feather stitch pattern is textured enough to allow the variegations of the yarn to shine. As a bonus, the waves formed by the stitch pattern are like the waves breaking on our local beach.

2011.03.30 - Muireann - lace

“The ridged feather stitch pattern is … like the waves breaking on our local beach. “

Muireann is graded for all sizes from 2 years old to 16 and is worked from the top-down using Barbara Walker’s method for simultaneously set-in sleeves as follows:

  1. After a provisional cast-on, the back is worked until it is one-sixth of the armhole circumference.
  2. Then each front is worked from the cast-on stitches to the same length as the back.
  3. Stitches are picked up for the sleeves and the fronts, back and sleeve-caps are worked simultaneously, with paired increases forming the sleeves.
  4. Just before the sleeves are divided away from the body, stitches are added to the body and the sleeves for the underarm shaping.
It started with the buttons!

It started with the buttons!

Thank you to all of my awesome test-knitters especially Maritere and Myjoha who posted great pictures on their Ravelry Project pages.

You can download Muireann from my Ravelry store. ETA: [For those of you who just want to put it in your queue or library, for now, (hint! hint!) here’s the link to the pattern page on Ravelry.] I’ve laid out the pages with the photographs grouped so that the pattern falls over the central four pages – to minimise printing. By way of introducing myself to you all as a designer, Muireann will be free until Jan 2015. I hope you enjoy spending time with Muireann!


Annus Horribilis

annus horribilis /anəs hɒˈriːbɪlɪs/noun
1. a year of disaster or misfortune.

If you’ve read my earlier posts from this year you’ll know I’ve seriously struggled to have anything to show for all my fibre-crafting efforts. The rest of the year hasn’t shown much improvement.

Last time I posted I was heading off on a 10 week adventure of parental leave from work with a box full of yarn and a head full of pattern ideas.

Picture of design box of yarn

Travelling companions

The first pattern I wanted to write was a hat I had knit for myself years ago. I had called it “Whirling Dervish” – those of you that know my name in real-life (and especially if you’ve seen my dance moves!) might have a smirk creeping over your face right now at this play on words. I thought this pattern would make a great start considering I had taken the rare precaution of making notes as I knit it. “Low-hanging fruit” is the catch-phrase du jour in my workplace these days.
But oh dear, my notes…

Chart notes for Whirling Dervish Hat

Looks like some of my decreases are plotting their escape!

I made the original had in a softly-plied, bulky alpaca yarn that I can’t recall any details of, and never uploaded to Ravelry. I also managed to lose the hat before taking any pictures of it! Anyway, I decided my skein of handspun, Eyjafjallajokull, could be a suitable substitute.

The Whirling Dervish pattern was so-named because it started with a whirlpool cast-on. My handspun didn’t like that idea very much!

Swatch for Whirling Dervish in Eyjafjallajokull

Ideal for a nipple-hat – just not the look I wanted

I quickly abandoned the Whirling Dervish design and decided Judy’s Magic Cast-on would be more appropriate using this yarn. Soon a pattern for a fedora-style hat emerged. I got side-tracked into making and designing a felted version and am considering short-row shaping on the crown for a truer fedora look. So there are potentially three hat patterns brewing but no written pattern yet to show for these experiments.

I moved on from there to designing and making a t-shirt from three skeins of Handmaiden Fine Yarn Silken that I had in my stash. Three skeins equated to 750 meters, which I thought would be ample for a short-sleeved sweater. After I completed the back I was worried that I would run out of yarn. I considered a back-up plan of using a contrasting colour on the sleeves if I did.

As I progressed up the front it was a touch-and-go race against yarn. Then, just before I started the armhole shaping, I did a cross-check on my stitch-count and discovered that I had cast-on 10 stitches too few! All that I had knit on the front had to be ripped out. What’s more, I was absolutely certain I would not have enough yarn. Yet another project went on the back-burner!

My next effort was to attempt to progress a design for a matching hat and mitten set in Dublin Dye Company’s Swing Sock yarn. Unfortunately, this coincided with us getting keys to our new house and then my MIL coming to visit so I was never able to give it the head-space it demanded. It smolders still…

After we returned back to Ireland (still with my box containing only yarn and no finished objects or written patterns) I ordered additional skeins of HandMaiden Silken. The ball on the left is the original yarn; on the right is the more recent dyelot. Can’t I catch a break? Le sigh!

Picture of Handmaiden Silken

Same colourway, different dyelots

So, dear reader, am I exaggerating by calling this year Annus Horribilus? It certainly hasn’t been all that productive or successful despite my efforts. However, as my dear knit-night buddy @Midweshterner pointed out to me (and I’m paraphrasing, because she put it more eloquently) the reason I’m not succeeding is because I’m trying such experimental things.

Recently, I came across the Helsinki Bus Station Theory in relation to creativity and design. The gist of it is: too often we bail too soon on a project that’s failing. Or we prevent ourselves gaining experience and confidence by focussing only on success. Rather than decide the bus we’re on isn’t going anywhere or taking us in the wrong direction we should try to stay on the bus and enjoy the journey of discovery. The final destination is more likely to be where we will really feel comfortable. So I’ve tried to stay on the bus. And I’ve tried to put in the time.

And recently things have started to turn the corner. In the past month I have:

  • sent off a design submission to Knitscene
  • finished the Silken t-shirt – photographed it and am in the process of writing up the pattern
  • spun most of the yarn needed for a sweater (another sweater design in progress)
  • started swatching for two new garment designs

I’m hopeful that as I “Stay on the fucking bus.” I’ll soon have something tangible produced from all this potential.

Tell me, dear reader: What have you triumphed with because you persevered?

Muse: Trials and Tribulations

Over the past six weeks I’ve been through the mill.

Not a woolen mill where I was metaphorically transformed from fluffy fleece to workable yarn. No, a stone-mill where the wheat gets sorted from the chaff.

I learned whether I was wheat or chaff!

Trial By Jury

In non-chronological order I had three trials over the past while, the first being applying for a new position where I work. It was an internal competition for a temporary position that would have taken me out of Architecture and into mainstream Administration and Management. That’s essentially what I’m doing these days anyway, there being very little Architecture in the pipeline these days.

I applied at the end of April and didn’t know if I would even get short-listed. I got word that I made the grade two days before the interview. I did my best to prepare but I remember feeling that I was at the very limit of my own intellect and ability in the process. The interview was so-so. They asked some excellent questions – questions that I really wish I had an answer for, questions that brought it home to me that I wasn’t in the right league at all. My immediate feeling on leaving the room was that I wouldn’t have given me the job.

With the benefit of  hind-sight I realise I should have been preparing mini-essays and reading-up from the moment I submitted the application form five weeks earlier. Hopefully there will be a next time and I can make use of this insight.
The process was useful to help me realise also that I’m being held-back – possibly deliberately – by those in my current workplace. I need to tackle this but as yet I haven’t got my head around how to do so.


While I was disappointed that I hadn’t acquitted myself better in the interview I was sanguine about it given the lack of effort and preparation I had given the opportunity. It’s hard to accept defeat or failure when you have given something your all. Which brings me to the sad tale of my Knitty submission. Unfortunately, I received word – in the form of a very nice email with really positive feedback – that my pattern submission was rejected. Amy Singer said she loved the pattern and gave special mention to the photography (which was pretty awesome, thanks to DH) but because they rarely print kids patterns “so it’s extra hard to get through in this category”.

Dejected doesn’t cover how I felt. In a word, I was devastated, irrational as that may seem. I knew they rarely print kids’ patterns but I was audacious / arrogant enough to think that this pattern had something more that would over-come this hurdle. Plus, I deliberately sized the pattern to cover from toddlers to teens.

For now, I’m still licking my wounds. Amy suggested I submit the pattern to Petite Purls but for now I’m sitting on it and wondering how best to give it a debut.  Once bitten, twice shy and all that; I’m unsure I’ll put myself “out there” as a designer again.

Endurance Test

Since I like to focus on the positive rather than the negative I’ve got to give you my tribulation. As many of you know I’ve been donning running shoes (and questionable outfits) and training for the Women’s Mini-Marathon. This is my third year to take part (fourth to sign-up :-0) and my first year to have trained sufficiently. By Race-Day last year the longest I had run continuously was 20minutes. I decided to do a back-to-back of my longest training run so I walked for five minutes, ran for 20, walked for 10 mins, ran for another 20 then walked the rest of the way. My time was sufficiently good that I was allowed to enter as a fast-jogger this year.

This year I started my training earlier and was more diligent about sticking with it. As I came close to the end of the 9-week “Couch To 5K” training programme (C25k) – where I was running 20 to 25 minutes continuously – I found a training schedule on Action Aid’s website for running 10k and I started to adapt the last few weeks of C25k to suit. It mainly meant adding an extra run on a Friday and lengthening my other runs during the week or doing some speed-training called “Fartleks”.

Before the race this year I got chatting with a fellow fast-jogger who has a few London and Dublin Marathons under her belt. She had a similar target time of 75 minutes. I told her of my plan to walk for the first five minutes, run for 60 then walk for the last five as a five-minute walk was the warm-up in my training sessions. As it turned out, when the race started everyone around me took off at a run. If I had tried to walk, I would have either been trampled or caused an accident. Denise, my new “running-mate” cheered me to go for it, that I would be fine. So I did.

To my amazement, I finished the 10k just (literally) under one hour, clocking-in officially at 59minutes 52 seconds. Elated, thrilled, ecstatic don’t fully cover how gob-smackingly amazed I am at having done this. I even wonder did I really run the whole route. Surely I must have missed a kilometer or two?

My sister and my neice (her daughter) were also running and we all finished within 90 seconds of each other. My neice passed me just after 9km and called out to me. I called back (we were both wearing head-phones so we’re pretty sure we were absolutely roaring at each other!) that she shouldn’t wait for me, I’d slow her down. However, I tried to keep her in my sights for the last kilometer. That was the push I needed to get me over the line under 60 minutes.

That the three of us will managed to complete the race in less than 60 minutes this year means we will all be in the “Runners” enclosure at the start of the race next year. Then the *real* competition will start!

So in one case I was found to be chaff, in another I was whole-wheat goodness while the Knitty trial still chaffs (see what I did there?!?)

In all cases, I guess, it’s all grist to my mill.

Ravelympics Tournament

The Events List for Ravelympics 2010 was posted up the other day. It’s got me all excited about what medals I’m going to try for this year. So your Tour this Thursday is all about my plans for the Ravelympics Tournament (see what I did there?). 

(Don’t know what I’m talking about? Take a look at this link and it might give you more of an idea.) 

So you might remember from my knitting list for 2010 I was thinking of three main projects over the 17 days. 

Blackberry Socks

WIPs Dancing Queen?

Events: WIPs Dancing and Sock Hockey 

Pattern: Adirondack Socks from Interweave Crochet Fall 2009 

Yarn: ShoppelWolle Zauberball in Blackberry 

This project has been languishing since The Knitting and Stitching Show last October, when a certain colour purple caught my eye and a whole new Glenvar got started. 

I absolutely love working with this yarn, so I can’t wait to get started again. 




King Cole Merino Blend in Pink

Events: Designer Bi-athlon and Hat Half-pipe 

Pattern: my own 

Yarn: King Cole Merino Blend in Pink 

The thing to bear for Ravelympics is “The One Rule To Rule Them All: Challenge yourself by starting and finishing projects during the 2010 Winter Olympics.”

 Writing and publishing a pattern of my own on Ravelry will be quite a challenge for me. I’m planning to give the pattern to P/Hop if I do manage this.



Ishbel and Dazzle

Events: Short Track Shawls and Lace Luge 

Pattern: Ishbel from Whimsical Knits by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Dazzle BFL by Natural Dye Studio 

I bought the yarn at I Knit Weekender in London last September with Ishbel in mind. Then, later that day, I won a copy of Whimsical Knits in the raffle that P/Hop were running. 

My Knit-night knitting buddies laughed heartily when they saw I had only allowed one week in my knitting calander to knit an Ishbel – one challenge too far, perhaps? 

Perusing the Events List I’m like a child in a sweet-shop. I want to enter into so many events: 

  • The Aerial Unwind Event could be a good one to pick up a few medals and I have two projects in need of frogging. Ravelympics might be just the thing to recapture some lovely yarn from the claws of defeat.
  • I have a skein of undyed cotton – also bought at I Knit Weekender last September – that I could enter in the Downhill Dyeing Event. I’ll need to organise myself with the proper dyes for dyeing cotton, however.
  • I might try for another WIPs Dancing Event. Below you’ll see a jacket that I’m wearing to death these days even though I don’t consider it to be finished. I feel it needs an additional collar all around the front edges. Again, the impetus of Ravelympics might be just the motivation I need to get the hook out again – if I haven’t collapsed in a heap by the end of February.

I have to be honest and admit that the overall challenge I’m setting myself is to collect as many medals as I can. By the above reckoning I count ten.

A Guided Tour – Gherkin Mittens

Hold the pickle!


When I finished my Elsica Hat in Adriafil New Zealand Print I had only used .75 of one ball – I had another 1.25 balls left. So I set about making some matching mittens. What follows is not sufficiently worked out to be a pattern i.e. I haven’t got measurements of the finished mittens as they’ve been gifted by now and I can’t give you a gauge. So I’m calling it a guided tour of what I did to make them. I knit these mittens from cuff- to-tips, in the round and two-at-a-time on two circular needles. I’ve included some tips for how to do that too.  

..."And now it's time for the Architect's Sketch!"

Adjust gauge so that it fits

Finished Size: To fit a woman’s small to medium hand.  

Yarn: Adriafil New Zealand Print (75% wool, 25% acrylic; 220 yd [201 m]/100g)  – 0.65 of 1 skein needed for these mittens; Colour 021 – blues and greens  

Needles: US Size 7 (4.5mm) two sets of circluar needles  

Notions: Two lockable stitch-markers; tapestry needle  

Gauge: Ahem! Mumblemumblemumble… Didn’t quite hear you there. Did you say gauge? Oh… eh… Adjust gauge as necessary, so that they fit! 

You will need…


  • Needle Set-up: You will need two matching pairs of circular needles, of whatever size you need to get gauge. If you have interchangeable needles, you can set up two cables with the needle-size to get gauge on one end and a smaller needle-size on the other. I set up two medium-length cables from my set of Denise Interchangeables with Size 7 (4.5mm) needles on one end of each cable and Size 5 (3.5mm) needles on the other end of each. 
  • Yarn Set-up: The key to knitting two at a time is that you’re knitting from two separate balls of yarn. It seems obvious but I had to have a light-bulb moment before I figured it out! So, before you begin, wind your yarn into two separate balls. Use a weighing scales (preferably digital) to determine when you’ve reached halfway. Don’t try to knit from both ends of the one ball – ask me how I know!
Half of two cuffs cast-on to first needle
  • To Cast-on for two-at-a-time:
    1. Using your preferred cast-on (I used a long-tail cast on; but use anything you like, as long as it’s elastic) and ball A, cast-on half of the overall number of stitches you require for one mitten onto the correct needle size for gauge (see needle set-up above). If you opt for a cast-on that requires a long-tail make sure each tail is long enough to cast-on all of the stitches required for one mitten.
    2. Now forget ball A and take up ball B.
    3. Using the same cast-on and ball B, cast-on half of the overall number of stitches you require for one mitten onto the same needle.
    4. Stick with ball B but pick up the other circular needle.
    5. Let the first circular needle dangle as you cast-on the second half of the stitches onto the 2nd circular needle – as close as you can to where you left off on the first needle. Make sure you’re casting-on to the correct end of your 2nd circular needle!
    6. Now forget ball B and take up ball A again.
    7. Cast-on the 2nd half of stitches for the other mitten – again, as close as possible to where you left off before.
    8. When you start your next round you will join for knitting in the round, being careful not to twist.
    9. And there you’ll be with two mittens on two circular needles – two half-rounds on each needle.
  • Starting cast-on to second needle

Stitch Guide:

S1 to LH ndl:

  1. As you knit to the end of each half-round for each mitten, lock the stitch-marker around the loop of the last stitch and let it slip off your Left-Hand (LH) needle.
  2. As you start each half-round for each mitten, pick up the stitch-marker and use it to replace the loop onto your LH needle. Remove the stitch-marker and lock it around the loop (not the leg) of the last stitch in the half-round.

Right-leaning Travelling Stitch: (T2R) 

  1. With yarn to back, knit into both sts as though to K2tog. Don’t drop sts off left-hand needle;
  2. Bring yarn to front, purl first stitch and drop both sts off left-hand needle.

Right-leaning Travelling Stitch with Decrease: (T2Rdec) 

  1. With yarn to back, knit into both sts as though to K2tog. Don’t drop sts off left-hand needle;
  2. Bring yarn to front, and slip first stitchonto RH ndl as if to purl;
  3. Drop both sts off left-hand needle;
  4. Insert RH ndl into next st on LH ndl and p2tog with first st on RH ndl
  5. 1 st decreased with right travelling stich


Cast-on: 36 sts for each mitten i.e. 18 sts onto each needle with each ball – see Notes above. 
Cuffs: Work in [Ktbl,P2] rib around for 2.5″ (or however long you would like) 
Increase round: Ktbl, M1, p1 around to last st, lock a stitch marker around the next st so that it can be slipped onto LH ndl.
Set-up round: T2R, p3 around to last two sts; then M1 and slip last st onto LH ndl (49sts)
Hands: [T2R, p3] around to last st; s1 to LH ndl
Repeat this round for 3” or until you get to “crook” of your palm then work “EZ’s thumb trick” as follow: Work 4 sts in pattern, switch to spare yarn and knit 7 sts; replace sts just worked in spare yarn back on LH ndl and continue in pattern as though nothing had happened!
Continue with hands until 1.5” before desired length.    

Spiraling towards tips

Decrease for Mitten tips: 

  • Rnd 1: *T2Rdec, P1, [T2R, P2] twice; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 2: *T2R, P1, T2Rdec, P1, T2R, P2; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 3: *[T2R, P1] twice, T2Rdec, P1; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 4: *T2Rdec, [T2R, P1] twice; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 5: *T2R, T2rdec, T2R, P1; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 6: *T2R, T2R, T2Rdec; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 7: *T2R; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 8: *K2tog, T2R, T2R; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 9: *K2tog, K1, T2R; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 10: *K2tog, K2; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • Rnd 11: *K2tog, K1; rpt from * to last st; S1 to LH ndl
  • 9sts are left. Break yarn, thread ndl and fasten off last 9 sts by bringing yarn through each loop as if to purl-through back of loop.
  • Fasten off and weave in ends.
Twirly thumb

Thumb: I did one thumb at a time, using two circular needles, as before. I picked up sts for thumb on wrong side – a minimum of 15 sts initially. Remove spare yarn and bring the ndls through the hole and pull the mitten right-side-out. I picked up one or two more sts at the ends, to minimise holes.  
Set-up rnd: This was a bit of a fudge but generally each ndl had one “set” of sts with [T2R, P2] and one sets with [T2R, P3]. I made sure to have a knit stitch at the start of each ndl and I made sure that the travelling stitch of the main mitten body was not interupted. I used the stitch-marker locked around the loop, as before – see notes – to move the last st onto the next LH ndl .  

  • I knit thumb for 2″, or until it was 0.5″ short of the tip of my thumb.
  • For my first decrease round I decreased such that all “sets” are T2R, P2;
  • Two rounds with no decreases
  • Then decrease each round until 9 sts remain.
  • Finish off as for main mitten top

Finished Mittens

The WIPs get whupp’d

Knitting up a Whirlwind

So “knitting like the clappers” = “very limited blogging time”. This is just a sneak preview to show that I’m happy with my decision from yesterday’s choice.

I’ve put in the spare yarn for the thumb-trick at this stage, but I’m sceptical about whether it’s going to work with the stitch pattern. I’ve learned – the hard way – that you can’t just pick-up and knit in the opposite direction when you’re in ribbing. I’ve a feeling, since I’m working with a single travelling stitch, that the wrong-side might not seem so much like ribbing and I might just get away with it. At the very least, I’m going to learn something – the hard way – again!

I’m hoping to be sufficiently advanced, by tomorrow, to be able to give you a guided tour of what I did to make these mittens by adapting Wooly Wormhead’s pattern for the Elsica Hat. Perhaps even a “how-to” for knitting two-at-a-time. For now though, it’s all talk; and if I don’t get back to the knitting that’s all it’ll ever be.


Are you as shocked as my knitting friends were yesterday that I had these yarns in my possession?  

Dream On! Lady Bliss

 You can’t imagine the abuse they gave me for not only having paid money for these yarns but that I was proposing to knit with them! In public! AND in their company! It didn’t help matters that one of them decided to barf all over the floor of the restaurant we were in at the time. That’s one of the balls of yarn, I hasten to clarify – not one of my knitting friends; though they were making similar noises.  

But, undaunted, I persevered with what I had in mind. The other day Chickwithstix posted this idea for an adorable Christmas Ornament. I think you’ll agree that Donegal Tweed, a.k.a. Kilcarra, lends a certain air of sophisticated, bo-ho chique to this project. Well… here’s the “Skanger Bling” version…  

Badda Bing!

  • If you’re screaming WHY? at your computer right now, I’ll be getting back to that in a later post.
  • If your eyes are threatening to bleed, click back to Diane’s soothing version quickly. You can comeback here tomorrow. It’ll be all over then, I promise.
  • If you’re here for the how-to, then pull up a chair and let’s get started.

Not everyone likes Bling. If I were given the choice of my offering and Diane’s I’d pick Diane’s. Then again, don’t you get away with a bit of bling at Christmas-time? So if you’re after a bit a’ Bling? Badda-Bing!: 

Advent Wreath with Bling

Based on Diane’s instructions, to make this wreath you knit a length of  i-chord, turn it into a circle and sew one end to the other. When I first ventured into the online-world of knitting I had no idea of what an i-chord was. In case you’re in the same boat, I’ll tell you what I’ve picked up since. Apparently, i-chord is short for (the more polite name for) “idiot-chord” and the phrase was first coined by Elizabeth Zimmerman because it’s how an idiot would knit if they didn’t know how to. That is, you knit row after row of a few stitches, without ever turning your work, and you end up with a long mini-tube. This is because the last stitch of the previous row twists around to meet the first stitch of the next row.

Keep going until you want to stop

To knit an i-chord you’ll need two double-point needles (DPN). Gauge and tension are not important in this project so select your needle size according to what yarn you’d like to use.  

Cast-on  a very small number of stitches onto one of your DPNs. Diane used 4sts for her Kilcarra wreath; I used 5 for my hairy blend of novelty yarns. You wouldn’t want to use more than that or the effect will be lost. Now follow these simple steps until your i-chord is long enough to make the circle you want.  

  1. Knit all stitches across then put your right-hand needle into your left hand but do not turn your work;
  2. Push all the stiches to the working end of the DPN;
  3. Your yarn, however, is now at the wrong end. To continue knitting just pull it over, behind your work, and repeat from Step 1

As you continue, your mini-tube will relax and if you give it a few pulls the odd time you’ll help to sort out any ladders that might occur.  

If you’d like to add beads – to represent the four candles on an Advent Wreath then here’s more how-to:  

You have two options (well, three if you count ignoring the following and just sewing them on afterwards!):  

  • you can either thread four beads onto your work before you start (Option A);
  • or get a teeny-tiny crochet hook – one that’s small enough to go through the holes in the centre of your beads of choice (Option B).

Advent Wreath

I recommend placing the first bead after you’ve knit a few rows. You’ll want them at the North-East, South-East, South-West and North-West compass position on your final circle as it hangs. When you get to the right place in your knitting where you want to position a bead, work to a middle stitch – don’t try either manouvre described below at the first or last sts of your i-chord. 

Option A: 

  • Knit up to the place where you’d like to add the bead.
  • Bring the yarn between your needles to the front of your work, and slide the next stitch purl-wise onto your right needle.
  • Then slide the bead up along the yarn as close as possible to the needle, letting it occupy the slight void left by the slipped stitch.
  • Lift your yarn back between your needles and to the rear of your work, and knit the next stitch. The bead should be secured tightly.

 Option B: 

  • Knit until you reach the stitch where you’d like to add the bead.
  • Pick up the crochet hook, slide one bead onto it, and use the crochet hook – instead of your DPN – to work into the next stitchon your left knitting needle.
  • Slide the bead down from the crochet hook deep onto the yarn loop, then place the loop back on your knitting needle.
  • The bead is now in place and you can continue knitting.

For my novelty yarn Option A – threading four beads onto one of the thinner stands of the blend – was the simplest. All three strands would not go through the hole in the bead and foostering with one strand while trying to knit the other two as normal was too much of a pain. 

As you continue knitting the i-chord, bend it into a circle periodically to help you determine when you’ve completed another quarter-round. When you get to the end of your i-chord, just cast off in the normal way. If you’re using a crazy blend of fun-fur or novelty yarns, as I did, don’t try to sew one end to the other with the same yarn. Use some standard sewing thread, in a complimetry colour, to sew it up. Add something to hang it – you could crochet one of the yarn ends, perhaps. 

Hang it up and enjoy it; or give it away as a present; or donate it to charity. Whatever is your preference, I hope you have a bit of fun making one.