Wild Rose Mitts

As promised here is my pattern for my favourite mitts/wrist warmers.  I am offering this as a free pattern.  Next blog will be a brand new applique design and pattern!

Wild Rose Mitts


I really love these mitts. The design, the shape, the picot edge and the gorgeous Scandinavian motifs all work together to make the perfect elegant and practical mitt. One size, medium, seems to fit all.



Easy to make too I have tweaked the pattern hither and thither for the past two years and now feel confident to share it the pattern with you all on Ravelry. I have written the pattern in a way I hope even beginner knitters can easily understand.


I like to use a sock weight yarn and four 2.25mm DPNS although of course the magic loop method can be used too. These slate grey mitts are made from Artfil’s Belle in colours Slate, Strawberries and Cream and Pistachio. The colour work offers a great way to use up scraps and the main colour uses approximately 200 yards for both mitts. I tend to knit quite tightly and my tension works out at 8 stitches/12 rows to the inch. You may want to go down a needle size to get the same tension for an identical size to mine.

The charting for the traditional Swedish design is taken from Mary Jane Mucklestone’s “150 Scandinavian Motifs”.

The picot edge is a favourite of mine – I cannot resist the prettiness of it. You can make this picot edge a number of ways and I have experimented with all. I think the quickest and easiest way is to sew the picot edge in place after knitting. Not difficult to do the slant of the sewn stitches is undeniably attractive.



If you knit the picot edge down as you go the inner edge will look like this….



Cast on 64 stitches in contrast colour (I like to use the same colour as the rose). Leave a nice long tail with which to sew down the edge later (about 30 cm). I like to cast on over two needles for a loose and easily identifiable cast on edge stitch for either sewing down the edge or knitting in place later. Divide the stitches over your three needles and being careful not to twist stitches join in the round. Place stitch marker to identify beginning of round.

Work 5 rows.

Row 6: *YON K2tog* repeat to end of row

For reference to YON, (yarn over needle), also the same as wyif, (with yarn in front) and YRN (yarn round needle) see:

The Yarn Over (YO)


Row 7: Change to main colour and knit 5 rows. If you choose to knit your picot edge in place do this on the fifth row of main colour, i.e. row 11. To do this identify the first stitch of cast on edge and knit together with first stitch of row 12, continue with all subsequent stitches ie. second stitch of cast on edge with second stitch of row 12. Remember the sewn down edge is just as lovely if you can’t face doing this!

Row 12: Decrease to 60 stitches. The easiest way to do this is to knit every 15/16th stitch together

Work 5 rows.

Start working from colour work chart at beginning of row 6. Start at the arrow and work according to the chart. NB The roses are separated by three stitches across the mitt except for two which will be separated by two stitches. Make sure you carry yarn not in use loosely across the reverse of mitt.



Work all 27 rows.



I find that the mitt fits better and has a smoother fit if I decrease to 54 stitches after the colourwork. I think this is because no matter how careful I am the colour work is at a tighter tension and so by decreasing 6 stitches on the row after the colour work I have a better looking mitt. However I also have very slim wrists and if your wrists and hands are on the large side you could omit this step and stick at 60 stitches.

To decrease to 54 stitches knit every 9th and 10th stitch together.

Work 10 – 20 rows up to thumb depending on how long you want the mitt to be. 10 rows will give you more of a glove, 20 more of a wrist warmer.

On this last row before working the thumb place another stitch marker one stitch before beginning of row marker.

Repeat the three following rows until you have 17 stitches between your two stitch markers. For the smoothest thumb increases I find the best way to increase is to use Make 1 Right and Make 1 Left. If you are unsure how to do this it is illustrated perfectly by Purl Soho.

Row 1. Starting at beginning of row, knit to first stitch marker Slip stitch marker M1R, k1, M1L slip stitch marker

Row 2 Knit

Row 3 Knit

Row 4 will be as row 1 except you will now have Slip stitch marker M1R, k3, M1L

Increase between the stitch markers until you have 17 stitches finishing with a Row 3

On next round remove the stitch marker (not the beginning of round marker), slip the 17 stitches onto a long piece of thread and then casting on one stitch over the thumb slip marker and continue working in the round.
NB It is much easier to work the mitt (and try it on) if you put the thumb stitches on a thread rather than a rigid stitch holder.

Work 6 rows

Work 7 rows of the leaf pattern from the chart.

Work four rows, change to colour contrast and work one row in *YON K2 tog* for picot edge as before.

Knit five rows

Bind off. I find the best cast off method for this bind off edge and the thumb bind off is as follows.
Knit one stitch, place knit stitch back on left needle, k2stitches together through back of loops, place this knit stitch on left needle, knit 2 together through back of loop etc. Leave a nice long thread with which to sew down the picot edge.

Thumb. Put the 17 stitches on 2 needles and then with third needle pick up three from the bodywork of mitt at the top of the thumb for a total of 20 stitches. Divide stitches evenly between the three needles and place a stitch marker to identify the beginning of round. Work in the round for 9 rows then bind off using same method as top of glove.

Sew picot edge on inside of mitt, sew in loose ends, block and repeat for mitt 2.



New Book on the Horizon!

Even if it was a surprise to some of you on opening up an overdue quilting blog last week to find a knitting pattern, it did, at least for me , remove a blog “writer’s block”.   I know many of you read my Facebook posts and so you know that in the last year I have been somewhat obsessed with knitting and that for a while it usurped appliqué.  It is true, I have become absolutely absorbed in today’s beautiful hand dyed yarns and have discovered just how much knitting has changed so much since I last seriously knit in the 70s and 80s.  The yarns, Ravelry, the needles.  The products, patterns and generosity of other knitters can only be matched by the quilting industry.

But my love of fabric isn’t over yet.  Not by a long shot and to prove it, I can finally bring my news out from under wraps and tell you that I have a new book to be published by C&T in a matter of months now, “Euphoria Tapestry Quilts”.  It has been a couple of years’ work and the publishing process being as drawn out as it is, means that I have kept it under wraps until the very last minute.  I have finally signed off the final manuscript and I am absolutely thrilled to pieces.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s everything I wanted it to be.  Thank you C&T.  It is presently being printed and should be available by the beginning of August.



It’s full of new flowers, new techniques, new projects.  For those of you who live locally I will send out invitations for an “Open House” in the summer when I will open the house to everyone for some good food and wine, have all the projects in the book on display, answer any questions you might have and have the signed book available to purchase directly from me.  I will let you know the date(s) nearer the time.  I might hold a couple of workshops too to illustrate the new techniques.  Many of you have requested the pattern for my quilt “Euphoria” pictured below.  You will finally be able to make it!


For knitters, my next post will be another free pattern.  I think possibly my favourite.  I am working on all the final details now and hope to have it online in ten days or so.


Euphoria .jpg


Self Important Socks

A little diversion from quilting and appliqué, here is my pattern link from Ravelry.

by Deborah Kemball

The use of two colours and simple design combine to make a high impact statement for your feet! The socks are knit with a two colour rib cuff and in stocking stitch with a simple fairisle motif.

I chose to knit these socks using 2.25 mm DPNs US Size 1. you could size up to 2.5 mm successfully depending on yarn used.

I used most of 1 skein Belle (354 m/387 yards) by Artfil in colour Anise for the main colour A and approximately 30 m of contrast colour in “Belle” in colour Mushroom colour B.

I used a standard 64 stitches cuff down sock pattern (Ladies Medium size) but the fairisle design, worked over four stitches, adapts perfectly to 60 stitches (Ladies Small), 68 (Ladies large/Men Small size ) and 72 stitches (Men large) socks. Instructions are given for 64 stitch sock.

Cast on 64 stitches in contrast colour in the cast on method of choice. I like to hold two 2.25 mm needles together to cast on over two needles to give a nice loose cast on edge. When your 64 stitches are cast on, just slide the extra needle out before dividing 64 stitches between your four needles (16 stitches per needle). Join in the round taking care not to twist. I like to knit the last four stitches of the round onto the first needle so that should I need to use a stitch marker, it will not be between needles. I then alter the stitches between the needles for 16 stitches per needle. If you feel insecure without it, place a stitch marker to mark the beginning of round.

At the end of round one join in main colour (with a nice long tail for sewing in later) and work 2:2 rib. Knit 2 in main colour, purl 2 in contrast colour, k2 main colour, purl 2 contrast etc. Make sure you always loosely loop the unused colour at the back of the work and don’t pull tightly when changing colour. Knit 15 rounds.

Once ribbing is complete follow chart below from top down. Pattern is is worked over a four stitch repeat. Carry colour not in use loosely at back of work



Once chart is completed continue in Main colour A for length desired to top of heel flap – usually between 6 – 8 inches.

Heel Flap

Work back and forth across 32 stitches on needles 1 and 4.

Row 1 Sl 1 knitwise, K1, *sl 1 purlwise with yarn in back, K1 repeat from * to end of row Row 2 Sl1 purlwise with yarn in front and purl to end of row.

Repeat rows 1 and 2 fifteen more times, 32 rows completed.

Turn heel

Row 1 Sl1 purlwise, k 17, K2tog through back loop, K1 turn Row 2 Sl1 purlwise, purl 5, p2 tog, p1, turn
Row 3: Sl1 purlwise, K6 K2tog tbl, K1 Turn
Row 4: Sl1 purlwise, p 7, p2tog, p1 turn

Continue working in this way until 18 stitches remain ending with a wrong side row.

Shape Gusset

Slip first stitch, knit across stitches of heel and then pick up and knit 16 stitches along the selvedge stitches along the side of the heel flap, knit across the 32 stitches at top of foot (needles 2 and 3) and then with fourth needle pick up and knit 16 stitches along selvedge of heel and knit 9 stitches from needle 1. Your beginning of the round is now the centre of the heel.

Knit 1 round
Begin gusset decreases as follows

Row 1, knit to last 2 stitches of needle 1, knit two stitches together, knit across needles two and three and then at beginning of needle 4 SSK, knit to end of round.

Row 2 Knit
Repeat these two rows until there are 16 stitches remaining on each needle 1 and 4.


Work in the round until foot measure desired length minus 2.5 inches less than the foot length. 1 1/2” is for the toe shaping and 1” is for the fairisle design.

Work the chart below from bottom up.



Break thread of main colour leaving a tail to sew in later and continue to work the toe in contrast colour.

Round 1 Needle 1 – knit to last three stitches, K2tog, K1: Needle 2 – K1 SSK , knit to end: Needle 3 – knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1: Needle 4 – K1, SSK, knit to end.

Round 2 Knit

Repeat these two rounds until only 32 stitches remain, (8 on each needle) and then repeat round one until 16 stitches remain (4 stitches on each needle).

With needle 4 knit the four stitches from needle 1 (8 stitches) and slip stitches from needle three onto needle two (8 stitches). With eight stitches on both needles hold parallel and graft stitches using Kitchener stitch.

Weave in yarn ends and block.


Not enough hours in the day

27th January 2015

It has been an age since I have written anything on my blog and for those of you who think I have totally given up the quilting ghost, I shall surprise you by saying I am, in fact, hugely busy on a major project and have been so for the past couple of months.  All rather under wraps for the moment but I am as busy with needle and thread as ever.  With yarn too and I am constantly itching to get my fingers knitting and it takes a lot of self discipline to keep away from my ever growing yarn stash.  The Aussie Open is giving me a pretty good excuse to get some knitting in this week.

I was lucky enough to get a taste (and samples) of a new Oakshott collection late last month.  Michael’s parcel dropped through the door as a complete surprise and to say it hit my chartreuse need bang on the head would be an understatement.  Oh what lovely clean, pristine colours.  The collection also includes the most perfect off white.  I find white one of the problem colours in my work and rarely find the right white.  Whites tend to be too blue, too white or too cream.  This one is perfect.   Gorgeous greys, soft pastels so clean and clear.  Not for me to divulge the name of the collection so keep your eyes skinned for the new collection the Oakshott website in February.  I ran this cushion up to see how the colours looked together.  I love the result, a contemporary look and for this reason (not laziness I promise) I left it unquilted.  I seem to be leaving much of my new work unquilted these days – I think I am moving into a new more contemporary feel, perhaps affected by the Modern Quilt Movement.


I loved it so much that I made a it a partner….


I find that I have moved away from red backgrounds into greys these days.  Soft warm dove greys and rich charcoals make such scrumptious backgrounds to highlight the colours of the design.

On the knitting front my lovely mother-in-law gave me some Brooklyn Tweed Loft for my birthday last month and I made up “Wake”, a beautiful very originally constructed sweater by Veronik Avery (available on Ravelry) with a curved wide back, stand up collar at the back of the neck and wide cables running down the front.  Warm and snuggly it was none the less hard to photograph – this was the best we could manage to show off the cabling moving diagonally down the front panel.   I find Loft hard to knit with as it is so fragile and breaks easily but once knitted it is perfect and worth the effort.  I like it even more when it has been through the wash a couple of times and shrunk just the tiniest teeniest bit.



Finally I have decided it’s time to start designing my own knitwear and I have started with this very simple pair of fingerless gloves.  The pattern isn’t perfect yet and needs a bit of tweaking for a better fit.  I’m working on that now, or would be if I wasn’t writing this.  In fact I must stop writing now and get on with my sewing project.  If this blog lacks a bit of sparkle it could be that we woke up at 3.15 am to watch the Aussie Open!

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Back to Needle and Thread

28th October 2014

I am back to sewing after quite a break from needle and thread.  I am breaking myself back in gently with some insects scattered on a wholecloth.  I’m enjoying fiddling around with little bits and pieces of silk again, embroidery thread and random colours.  It’s not exactly a magnum opus but it’s getting me back in my groove.  My eye is still a bit squiffy to say the least but I have decided to make friends with the large jellyfish like creature that floats across my vision every few minutes, closely followed by what looks like an octopus and other life forms more suited to an aquarium.  I have been told that this debris can take weeks/months to clear and so making friends with it rather than continuous exasperation seems a better way to go.


I came home from the school run to an unexpected package from UPS.  The International Quilt Festival (Houston Quilt Mecca, starting tomorrow) asked me weeks ago if they might have permission to photograph my quilt with a possibility of putting it in their annual magazine to coincide with the festival.  They said they would send me a free copy if my quilt was included.  And there it was.  My bête noire!




That’s Torn It! October 9th 2014

This will be short and sweet.  Ten days ago I tore my retina and also had a subsequent bleed in the same eye a few days later so I have spent a lot of time at the hospital here both in Emergency and the Opthalmology Departments.  This enabled LOTS of knitting.  In fact when it first happened and I knew I was destined for a long wait in Emergency I actually thought, oh goody goods, I can stop being tied to the Sunday Lunch Stove and sit and knit for a few hours.  I did!  Luckily I can knit almost blindfold although I have noticed that if I drop a stitch I find it nigh impossible to pick it up.  I still can’t see well to sew and I think it might be a while yet  😦    Hence lack of e mails to those of you who have written.  And blog.  But here you are.  I finished the red Floral Impressions quilt before my eye went AWOL and although I made a few changes before I put it away, namely dots in the corners where the two prairie points meet, I can’t see myself jumping on a chair to get it down from the high shelf to re-photo this morning.  I am very pleased with it.  It looks a bit skew-whiff in this photo because it was only masking taped to the wall to have a look at it vertically as opposed to on the floor. When I am up to it I will get it out and take some better photos and some close ups.  (Please don’t re-post this photo!)

Floral Impressions

Floral Impressions

And meanwhile over the past ten days I finished my “Torn Retina Sweater”.  Started just before my accident.   I love how soft it is, light as a feather and just as soft as can be.  I used Brooklyn Tweed Loft from left over from Pente hence the same colour scheme.  Dreadful photo of me taken this morning (unable to dye my hair with my eye problem ha ha) but lovely jumper.  The bottom was cast on with tubular cast on which I have never done before and it was worth the extra time.  I love it.  By the time I got to the sleeve cast on I was seriously visually impaired and I knew I couldn’t manage the Tubular so I did my conventional 1p1k rib and as you can see it is nothing like as beautiful as the slightly picot edge of the tubular cast on at the body edge.  I think the point of tubular cast on is its stretch but I didn’t think it would look so lovely.

"Elmont" knitted in Brooklyn Tweed Loft.  Designed by Julie Hoover.  Pattern on Ravelry.

“Elmont” knitted in Brooklyn Tweed Loft. Designed by Julie Hoover. Pattern on Ravelry.


Having fun with Crocuses and Hand Painted Ceramics.

September 25th 2014

Why do I love Oakshott shot cottons.  This is why.  They bring my simple little crocuses (crocii?) to life.

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I’m loving the deep charcoal background too.  Weird and wonderful to be appliqueing spring flowers in balmy September days with the maples turning gorgeous shades of flame outside my window.  Inevitably these stubby little flowers with their spiky leaves translate into quite “cute” applique but in this case I can live with the cute factor.  The modern grey background prevents them from looking too saccharine sweet too.

In another vein, here are a couple of pieces of my work from long ago, cerca 1998.  I went mad when living in Costa Rica when I discovered that a short walk away from my house was a warehouse full of ceramic blanks – plates, vases, bowls etc.  They sold paints in a rather limited palette and would fire anything for you once painted.    It was totally addictive and true to form I went quite mad and have a cupboard full of blue and white china to show for it.  When I look at all my old painted chined I see that it is just like my applique designs even though I hadn’t even discovered applique by that point.  I will photograph those next week as they will look lovely in the same post as my finished Floral Impressions but in the meantime this fish plate and bowl shown below always were two of my favourite designs.  In fact I am sending out a call to any competent potter with access to a kiln who may be able to make stoneware versions of my design.  I would love to see these made and fired in stoneware painted with softer colours and subtle glaze.  I envisage them re-worked in soft earthy neutrals, ochres and blues and greens.  My town, Baie D’Urfe has a great Potter’s Guild and perhaps I should contact them to find the right person to duplicate these in hardier stoneware.

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Catch Up News on an Historic Day for Britain

September 18th 2014

An historic day indeed. I had to mention it as many of you who read my blog live in Britain, in fact a smattering in Scotland. We await with bated breath and I wish all of you Scots the outcome that you wanted.

Firstly, you are all quite right to point out the rather abrupt end to the quilting video. I’m not sure why that happened but I think it might be because my Apple desk top is ancient (classed as an antique by the Apple Store at seven years old and thus unable to be updated) and my iphone on which we did the recording is brand new (lucky me). The ease with which one can supposedly zap things from one Apple source to another as boasted by our friends at Apple only appears to work if everything is brand new and updated. Given that it took months for us to actually finally get round to making the recording, that it took me at least two hours to manage to upload YouTube and then to the computer to put on the blog I just felt enough was enough and you would all get the general idea which I think, from the feedback, you all did.

So my summer was bliss. After our initial cycling holiday in Quebec, 340 km in 6 days thank you very much, I knitted up a storm during Wimbledon, the FIFA World Cup, US Open and most of all whilst watching Gus at his tennis matches too. I made another “Pente” cardigan for a friend in Holland who is very happy with it indeed, lots of scarves, socks, bits and bobs and presents galore for birthdays and Christmases.

As for quilting? I am nearly, so nearly at the end of the quilting of my Floral Impressons mark 2 in red and I have just bound my Autumn Wreath which you saw last year. I decided to bite the bullet and give this to Karen Desparois to longarm quilt. I am a great admirer of her work, she has some quilted wonderful non-traditional creations and has some great funky ideas. It is quite a departure for me as a hand quilter but I love her work. I told her that I didn’t care what she did with the quilt and that she could do whatever she wanted, I wanted a surprise. It was a very lovely surprise and I couldn’t be happier. And she did something really clever without even realising it. Actually on writing this I think maybe she did realise it, that her natural intuition told her what to do to bring it all into balance. The reason that I decided to finish this quilt at wallhanging size was that there was an imbalance in the design which, not matter how many three petalled flowers I added just couldn’t be remedied. Originally intended to be a full sized bed quilt with another one or two borders my heart was no longer in it as I just couldn’t get past the imbalance which shrieked at me every time I looked at it. Lest you think I am being too critical I do love the quilt, I love the colours and I especially love the use of plaids and plains together. Of course the Oakshotts are divine too. No question. For some reason Karen decided to put in a simple circle on the wreath and what is so very clever of her is that it has balanced everything out perfectly. I photographed it on the floor for the benefit of this blog as I think you can see the quilting more easily.



Back to some quilting now whilst listening to Radio 4 to hear what is happening on the other side of the pond on such an all important day!


Handquilting Video as requested (Finally!)

14th September 2014

Well better late than never. Gus and I finally got round to filming a bit of hand quilting before I complete my red Floral Impressions quilt. I’m sorry it has taken so long! I’m not particularly at ease in front of the camera which is only too evident but I hope you get the general idea of how I actually quilt.

Although I have been absent from my blog for the summer months I will be writing within the next week with all news of quilting,knitting and summer antics so for those of you who have kindly had the patience to wait, thank you! One of the reasons that my blogging has become quite so sporadic is that I have tended to just immediately write on my Facebook account which I started for the sole purpose of recording my quilting (and knitting). It was open to the public but as recently I have added a few family pictures too you now have to ask to “Friend” me to see my posts which are mainly about sewing and knitting. If you are a fellow Facebooker who would like access to my posts please just make a friend request and I will happily respond positively.

Hoping you all had a great summer and are looking forward to some serious sewing and quilting over the winter months!


Midnight Garden

May 13th 2014


My silk wall hanging, “Midnight Garden” has come home to roost for a few weeks.  


It is a quilt I gave to my brother some years ago and I hadn’t seen it for quite a while until last week.  I am teaching three workshops at the Quebec Salon at the end of this month and feeling that it is my best example a silk applique,  I asked him if I could borrow it for a few weeks.  It arrived from the UK last week and seeing it again was like seeing an old friend after too long a time.    I have been enjoying seeing it afresh, the colours of the silks strike me most and how perfectly they stand out against the midnight blue background.  I love the embroidery and this still remains one of my all time favourites.  It’s amazing that all this embroidery is a result of only two stitches, and that’s all!  Without more ado, here are some close ups……