Alison Crowther-Smith

Posts Tagged ‘knitting in the round’

Winter Trees Fairisle Throw Pattern – now available

Friday, November 9th, 2018

This is new!  Here is the link!

Moebiuses Predicted in Totnes This Weekend!

Monday, October 29th, 2018

I have just heard that there are 2 places now available for my Moebius workshop at Stitchfest Totes, this Sunday, 4th November, 10 – 2.  Here is the link. 

If you have never knitted one of these magical cowls before, this class will teach you the cast on and all important first round.  You will make a very elegant, simple cowl.

If you have knitted one before, this can be a refresher course and as a bonus for the class, I will be giving you a new Moebius design.  Obviously, you won’t have the yarns and needles, but contact me if you want to come and make the advanced option on the day. I will send you the requirements list.

This is  such a great event, with lots of exciting sellers in the market places and local teachers such as me! Do come.

Moebius yellow & grey1

How To Videos: stretchy cast on for socks

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

I am planning to make a few short videos of some of the techniques I teach and release them after workshops.  Here is the first one:  a stretchy cast-on for top-down socks.  This can also be used for the brim of a hat, the cuff of a mitten or anywhere that needs a good stretch that won’t go baggy.  Here it is.

Top down plain sock cast on



Workshops! Spaces!

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Hello there, welcome to the ghost-ship Court Cottage.  The workshops have succumbed to an epidemic of cancellations – so there is a lot of space here in June.

This weekend, you can come and knit socks, either from the top down or from the toe up. This is a great skill. Socks are easy to knit once you have mastered the basics – and that, plus a few extras, is what this course is all about.  I teach top down socks on DPNs and toe up socks on 2 short circular needles.  Once mastered, socks are ideal in many ways:  great, fast and economical gift knits; and perfect as a travelling project.

Next weekend, you can come and learn to knit a magical Moebius, or if you have done this with me before, you can knit a brand new design.  Moebiuses are very addictive and great fun to knit and to wear.

Please follow the links above or contact me.

Just a reminder:  if you were on my email list and did not opt back in when I sent out a recent pre-GDPR reminder, you will no longer receive my alerts and up-dates. So if you want to continue to get these, please contact me and I will add your name back in.  If you did opt back in – thank you!


Moons and Stars

Monday, February 26th, 2018

Moons and Stars 1

I thought you might like to see the final images of the designs for the Moons and Stars events which are new for 2018.

Here is the lap-blanket:

And here is the Cowl:

The blanket is steeked.  Both are knitted in the round and we also knit Fairisle with beads.

There is one space (a cancellation) for 22 March. The other dates are fully booked but we may repeat it in the autumn as there is a waiting list now.

This is not the design for our Shetland Fairisle adventure in July – but like Bees and Sulis, it is typical of my approach to Fairisle design – modern, a bit different, not difficult, simple colours and clean images – but knitted 100% traditionally. Do come to Shetland!  I can promise you it will be amazing.


The Shetland Tour, July 2018

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Just to let you know that ECT Travel have now up-dated the tour to include flights!  Here is the link.  I do hope you can come on my Fairisle knitting adventure on Shetland!




All the Images for Cables, Bobbles and Beads Events, October 2017 – March 2018

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

The Cables, Bobbles and Blackberries Scarf:

The Fables:

The Cowl is Done!

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The Felted Tweed Fairisle Cowl is now complete and it’s a beauty.

FI Cowl greys 1

There are also Kidsilk Haze and silk-lined versions of this fully reversible neat neck cowl. I have designed it to be fairly snug so there is minimal gappage at the neck but it is very easily sized up.  The ‘lining’ is in fact a mirror image of the other side but it is basically knitted in one piece, in the round and there is no sewing up.

FI Cowl greys 5

There is one place left on the Fairisle Cowl workshops and this is for the 3rd of June – you can see the event and book it here.

Several people have expressed an interest in the event, but cannot make the dates so if you would like to go on an event to make this, please let me know and maybe we can organise another date.


New Moebius Course, 18 February 2017

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Hello there!  Here is a new course, in February 2017 (a repeat of November 2016).  NEW Moebiuses.  I have designed two new ones and I can also take bookings from those new to Moebius knitting as we can teach two groups between us – beginners learn all the stuff and make a very pretty cowl, while those who have done it before have a refresh and knit one of the new designs.

Moebiuses are the coolest thing you will ever knit and they are absolutely lovely to wear.  You won’t regret it.

There are three places available, which you can book here.



Designer Notes: Drift Mitts by Smith from Elements

Sunday, August 21st, 2016


This is the first in a series of posts – Designer Notes – about unraveling the design and thus, the knitting and often the teaching process for some of my designs.  Some of these posts have previously appeared on the Smith and Jones Knits website.

Blanket Progress

Monday, August 1st, 2016

The original Hive Blanket (like that name?  Not too medical – ‘oooh – come and look at my hives, Matron!’…?) is done.  A second version is now being knitted by Kath as I need it testing and also, new colourway, and also, it’s a bit bigger so folks get to choose from the original which is still generous lap sized or a slightly bigger version.

Here it is:

This takes as much yarn as a jumper.  Maybe a Manly jumper.  So it is unusual for me with my childish need for instant gratification and short attention span. However, knitting this was a joy.  I loved it all.  OK, not the border which is massive but mitred so a) you can do it all in one go in the round, and b) it is a *bit* interesting in the corners on every alt round.  Small things people!  I listened to half of the Mitford Girls while knitting the border alone!

Anyway, I now have a dilemma.  This is knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed which though not a pure wool, is sticky enough for successful steeking and I do love Felted Tweed…but I think it is time for me to extend my knitting radar range away from Rowan.  I say this for a number of reasons.  I do love Rowan and I always will.  But times change.  So I am now swatching with DK from Jameison’s of Shetland and I love it more.  If this also behaves as a felting yarn which I am sure it will, it is just a case of at what temp, I think I may switch to this in future for steeking, Fairisle and felting.  I will keep you posted.

This knit has been a long journey starting with many swatches and design changes along the way.  For example, I realised as I completed the first full pattern repeat that I wanted the blanket to have no up or down side so even at that stage I was flipping my charts.  I am so glad I did.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this from the outset, maybe it is because I have rarely designed pictoral items?

If you are coming on steeking with me in October this is one option.  The other option is a cushion, also steeked and using this charting but obviously much smaller as a project.  If you are not but would like to be, or are on my event waiting list I am going to repeat this event in 2016, probably in February.  Let me know if you want to get advance notice. If you are on the list don’t worry I have you covered.

If like 90% of knitters, you *think* you may like steeking but are unsure if it’s for you, or if you can even do it, this is for you:

  • Once, me too!
  • If I can do it, you can do it.
  • I teach by easy, repetitious and staged sections.  It is not at all hard.  It is, at worst, fiddly.  We will go over the steps many times.  Muscle memory and confidence are built on these foundations.
  • It is normal to feel a bit anxious about cutting into your knitting. I did.  But knitting Fairisle in the round is an absolute joy and you do get much faster and far more *perfect* results.  And I will teach you to really secure your steek so it is stable.  It is secured in THREE ways:  1) surface crochet; 2) picked up stitches further reinforce the steek because they form a line of what is basically running stitch; and 3) the steek is then enfolded into a border, and I will show you two ways to do this.
  • Once you have learned it, you feel absolutely awesome!

Awesomeness guaranteed.

Needle Review: Addi Fixed Cable Circs, Short Tips

Monday, August 31st, 2015

I love knitting in the round.  The easiest way to do this is on one needle, but the drawback is that you have to have the right length of needle for the project.  This is fine if your project has 100 stitches or more as you can use a 40 or 50 cm needle, but if it has, say, only 50 stitches, you may be forced to use DPNs, which I also like, or Magic Loop, or 2 short circulars.

I recently ordered a really short Addi circular needle.  It is only 30 cm long, tip to tip.  Of this 30 cm, 14 are tip (7 cm each) and so the remaining 16 cm are cable.  This shortness of tip enables me to knit really quite small numbers of stitches in the round on this needle alone as there is a manageable ratio of tip to flexible cable.  I cast on 54 stitches in DK wool; my needle is 4 mm, old UK size 8.

The first round was tricky, but thereafter, there was no stretching or over-tension of the stitches.  It is always the case that if you are on the margins of the ideal ratio of stitches to length of needle, the first round or two will be tricky but this is not an issue after that – it all just relaxes and the need to stretch out the stitches eases.  If you can just about make the first round work, all will be well.  Otherwise, it will not.

So that is a great success.  I reckon I could get away with 50 stitches if I was prepared to struggle a bit more in the first round or two.  That’s a mitten size.  Result.

What is not going to go away is the fact that this is a very short needle and so it tends to slightly cramp your hands.  I knit with my hands underneath the work; with hands on top, as I can also manage, this is not such an issue, but there is no getting away from the fact that this is a tight space.  My hands are quite small.  If I had long elegant fingers (sigh), I think it might be a problem.  However, it was manageable for me and I soon grew used to it.

I have ordered two more needles in this length but different gauges.

Overall, these are very good value and they have all the usual Addi advantages – good quality, easy transition from needle to cable, reasonable tips, no memory in the cable, etc.  I am really pleased as I love the idea of knitting really small projects, that are also Fairisle, in the round on something with no transitions at all, which all the other method inevitability have.  So if you like the idea too, try one, but be aware that having such a little needle does feel odd and your hands might ache a bit at first.

Note:  these used to be made with bent tips, but they are now all straight – mine are.  Mine are in a package that says Addi Premium, but on the Addi UK website, they term them ‘Addi Short Circulars, ideal for the sock knitter’.  They come in 20 or 30 cm lengths – I think the 20 cm length would be nigh-on impossible even for the 2 short circ method as you  still have to use both ends of the same needle.

Do you know of any other FIXED cable short tipped needles?  If so please let me know and also what you think of them.  Ideally I would like a tip that is only 6 cm long.  I do not like interchangeable needles after a major trauma with one involving a 250+ stitch silk yarn lace pattern…

Technical Mini-SKills Workshops – last 3 places for next 2 events

Friday, May 15th, 2015

There are only 2 places left for casting-off skills, on Thursday 9 July; and only 1 space is left on my eleventy ways to knit in the round event on 1 October.

These are half-day, intensive sessions.  Really useful for your knitting repertoire, and also, small, hands-on events – with cake as a reward at the end.

Do book.