Winner + Designer Spotlight: Boo Knits

Our ongoing Designer Spotlight feature allows us to get a glimpse of what drives them to create.

Today, we interview Boo Knits. Bev is a knitter of shawls predominantly, and she has an avid obsession for beautiful yarns, beads and knitting needles. She lives in mildly moist but beautifully green England.

When did you learn to knit/crochet?
My aunt tried to teach me when I was a child but gave it up as a bad job when I just couldn’t hold my yarn properly. I still don’t! Many, many years later I taught myself with the aid of books, YouTube and a fair bit of trial and error to find the easiest way that worked for me.

What are your favorite projects to design?
I love to design shawls and have designed a couple of scarves/stoles but that doesn’t mean that that is all I will ever design. I have something different on the needles at the moment and we will have to wait and see whether it will become a pattern or not. I love the fun of designing and knitting lace – the playing with pattern and texture is mesmerizing.
Diamond Fizz by Boo Knits

A lot of knitters are intimidated by lace knitting. What are some of your fool proof tips for success with lace projects?

The most important thing is as simple as read the pattern. Read it again. Make a cup of coffee. Read the pattern. The answers to many of the questions I get asked are already in the pattern. Another useful tip - Stitch Markers! Stitch Markers are your friends, they are not a sign that you are new, less than able, cannot count, they are there to help keep track of your stitches and pattern and to help to make sure you don’t get to the end of the row only to have to tink back to put something right at the beginning. The finer your stitch markers the better, especially with lace knitting as some of the thicker markers can leave a mark in your knitting that looks like a ladder. These often disappear after blocking but not always and prevention is better than cure.

Many of your designs use beads; do you have any tips or tutorials to help knitters who are new to this technique?
Using beads is much easier than anyone would think. I would definitely recommend the better-quality beads on the market and particularly like Miyuki, Toho and Matubo – they have nice, smooth, large holes to get your yarn through. I almost always use their Size 6 Seed Beads and Size 5 Triangles on lace as the smaller beads simply get lost on anything heavier than cobweb. All of my patterns have the beads placed on the stitch individually. This ensures that the bead sits nice and straight on the stitch rather than sitting on a slant which happens when the beads are pre-strung.

There are many ways to apply a bead; with a tiny crochet hook, dental floss, a specially designed beader or, my favourite way, using a cro-tat hook. I load beads onto about six cro-tats at a time and stand them up in either a small vase or a jar of beads so that I don’t have to keep reloading. This means it is much quicker to finish a row with beads on and is less fiddly than only having one bead at a time.

Somehow it is smoother to apply beads when you have several on your hook. Just pop your stitch onto the loaded cro-tat, hold your hook at about 45 degrees with your stitch taut (at about 90 degrees from the hook) and push the bottom bead gently. The top bead should just pop onto your stitch and you are then ready to work the stitch as directed in the pattern.

What is your absolute favorite Knitter's Pride product, the one you would HAVE to have if you were stranded on a desert island?
As a lace knitter, it would have to be blocking wires and t-pins – an absolute must for anyone knitting shawls! I am sure, if stranded too long, they would become really good multi-purpose tools too.
Moonflower by Boo Knits

I have a MKAL starting 1st May called Just Be You. The shawl has been designed in conjunction with Lichtfaden for Sabine’s Meridian Pure Silk yarn. Just Be You is a crescent shaped, beaded and worked from the top down in a heavy lace weight yarn 660m/110g.
Sabine’s love for colour is evident to all and we talked at length about a style and influence for the design. Wave-Gotik-Treffen (WGT) is a gothic music and fashion festival held every year, for the past twenty-five years, in Leipzig, Germany.
With a Victorian picnic in the park, readings, theatre performances and medieval markets as well as the huge number of music events it is the biggest festival of its kind anywhere and is considered the ‘Mecca’ for cybergoths, metal heads, steampunks, neo-Victorians, dark romantics, dark electro, industrial and medieval fans.
Thousands of people descend on the city wearing the most amazing outfits – people attend alone, with friends or with their entire family and travel the world over to take part and experience this week-long event that is always a friendly, tolerant and trouble-free festival. So, whether your style is Victorian Lady, Gothic, Steampunk, or Jeans and T-shirt – Just Be You!
This shawl is a celebration of all of us, whoever we are, whatever we are and wherever we are – that we accept ourselves and others without judgement. Choose your colour and wear your shawl with pride and love and be true to yourself.
If you cannot wait until 1st May to cast on, then there are lots of other patterns available to try. Rum and Cola and Spritzer are brilliant for those new to lace, Voodoo and Spellbound would be great for anyone wanting something with more detail and Wintersweet, Danse Macabre and Temptress would be perfect for those with more experience. There really is something for everyone.

Congratulations to Connie K., this month's giveaway winner! We will contact you to arrange for the delivery of your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered this month's giveaway! 

2 Tips for Crocheting in the Round + Giveaway

Happy National Craft Month! Since March is also National Crochet Month, we're sharing two great crochet tips for jogless stripes and better joins for in-the-round crocheting. Stay tuned for a special giveaway, too!
in the round.JPG

Many beginning crocheters are disappointed when they see jogs in their striped projects (such as hats) or when they have a bumpy seam going up their in-the-round projects. 

The Problem: Color Jogs & Messy Joins
First, let's look at the traditional joining method to see why color jogs happen:

In color A, single crochet all the way around, slip stitch to join. Chain 2, insert your crochet hook into first stitch and join color B.
traditional joining.JPG

This technique creates a spike or a jog in the stripe. While it isn’t that apparent in large stripes, with 1-3 row stripes these jogs are unsightly.

The Solution:
In Color A, single crochet around until you get to the final stitch of the round. Insert your hook into the last stitch, yarn over with Color A and pull a loop through. With Color B, yarn over and pull the final loop through, and slip stitch to join. This gives you a jogless join!

jogless step 1.JPG
jogless step 2.JPG
jogless step 3.JPG

What about those funny bumps when joining in the round?
For solid color pieces in the round, your best option is to use the spiral method.

When you reach the end of your round, instead of slip-stitching to the beginning of the round, single crochet into the first stitch and continue. Use a removable stitch marker to keep track of the number of rows you’ve crocheted. Slip stitch on the final row to finish off the piece.
spiral step 1.JPG
spiral step 2.JPG

We hope these tips help you with your crocheting in the round!

One lucky blog reader will win a Waves Crochet Set! To enter, leave a comment on this post telling us what projects you're looking forward to making this spring. Be sure to also mention your Ravelry ID or email address so that we can contact you if you win.

We will pick our winner at random to announce on our next blog post on Friday, March 24. Good luck!

Congratulations to Margo B., our winner for the bonus giveaway we announced on our last blog post! We'll get in touch with your shortly to arrange the delivery of your prize. Thank you to everyone who entered our contest!