Stephen West is coming!

Photography and makeup by Alexandra Feo

Who would like to show off their Westknits mystery shawls (and other items in their Westknits wardrobe) to Stephen West himself? Yes, the knitting SUPERSTAR is coming to Cambridge!

  • Sunday 6th December, 3 – 5pm

Experience the colourful world of Westknits during this inspirational sample show and pattern signing. Stephen will talk about his latest designs, share stories, sign patterns, and help you select yarns for your next Westknits project!  Just drop in, it’s free to come.

Directions to The Sheep Shop are here.


Linen stitch neckwarmer

It’s been a long time!  Here’s a new pattern. It’s easy, super-quick to crochet and perfect for gifts or keeping yourself toasty.  Neckwarmers are less work and use less yarn than  scarves, and make for a toasty neck with no need to fling scarf ends about.

Linen stitch makes a beautiful texture, and is especially good for variegated yarns. It’s stretchy enough made in wool that you do not need to make special button holes.  It can be done up with a shawl pin also.  Made longways, the first row takes a bit longer than shortways, but there are many fewer rows so it feels a lot quicker to make than the traditional way.   


Yarn:  One skein Malabrigo Rasta
(150g/82m superchunky wool)

Hook: 10mm

Fastening: Two large buttons, up to 4cm diameter

Gauge: Preblock: 8.5st x 9r = 4in. Postblock the heavy buttons stretched this a tiny bit to
8st x 9.25r = 4in.

Finished size: 28in by 5.5in. 


  • Dc = double crochet (UK)/ single crochet (US)
  • Fdc = foundation double crochet (UK)/ foundation single crochet (US) (this creates the first row of dc without the need to chain then dc into the chain). Cherry Heart has a great fdc tutorial.
  • Ch = chain
  • Ch-sp = chain space


Foundation: Make 56 fdc (you can substitute by chaining 57 then making 56 dc, starting in the second stitch from the hook). Turn.

Row 1: Ch2, dc into second dc of row. [Ch, skip a stitch and dc into next st] to end of
row. (You should end up with 28 dc “legs”). Turn.


Rows 2 – 10: Ch2, dc into first ch-sp.  [Ch, dc into ch-sp to end]. The last dc goes into the ch-sp formed by the ch2 at the start of the previous row. Turn.


Row 11: Ch1, dc into the top of each stitch (56 dc). Fasten off.

Weave in ends. Block. Wear. Bask in compliments.

 You are welcome to sell items made using this pattern but do not sell the pattern itself. You may freely share it, giving credit to The Sheep Shop.


Sheep Shop Super Easy Crochet Cowl

Thank you to Joanne Scrace who designed this cowl as a perfect project for a beginner crocheter to practise their skills, and donated it to The Sheep Shop. This pattern is so easy to make. In no time at all you will be wearing something you made!  It also makes a great quick gift.

It comes for free as part of a kit (not available for separate sale), one ball of chunky or superchunky yarn with an appropriate sized hook.  

One ball of James C. Brett Marble Chunky will make two cowls sized 7" x 31" circ.  A kit will cost £8.65 (at time of publication, February 2015).

E’s Mittens by Shirley Warbrick

Shirley is a treasure worthy of Johnny Depp jumping off the Black Pearl to come and claim.  She designed these mittens for E, a delightful one year old boy who tries to squirm out of gloves as soon as they are put on.  These have more staying power.

They look great in variegated yarn such as the rainbow-coloured Araucania Laguna.

They also look great striped, such as these made with Rico Design Essentials Soft Merino Aran.

The mittens use about 40g of aran yarn for the pair.  Shirley has donated the crochet pattern to us, and we’ll email it to you for free with purchases of our aran yarn over £5.     

Mattress stitch for moss stitch

This tutorial shows how to sew together moss stitch (aka seed stitch) using mattress stitch.  Mattress stitch is an invisible (from the right side) join between the sides of two pieces of knitting.  

You’ll use the running threads between the edge stitch and next-in from the edge. Running threads are the pieces of yarn which connect a stitch to its neighbour.  For the running thread join you simply sew under a running thread on one piece of knitting then sew under a running thread on the other piece, working your way steadily upwards.

Here’s the needle going under four running threads.

The same process can be done regardless of whether rows begin or end in knit or purl (see photo at the end for evidence). 

Tips for mattress stitch

  • To sew up, use the same yarn as you used for the project unless it is very thick yarn.  
  • Unless it’s just a little seam, do not use a dangling tail in case you need to reknit a bit, you’ll have to unpick the whole seam first.  Instead, cut a piece of yarn about three times as long as the length of the seam (longer than for stocking or ribbing as you have to sew up every row).
  • For long pieces, use safety pins or butterfly hairclips to align the garment corners and some key points in the middle.  When your needle gets to one of these markers on one side you should reach it at the other side on the next stitch – if not, you’ll be ending up with a piece of knitting looking like a shirt with its buttons done up into the wrong button holes.  If you do end up a bit skeewiff, do a couple of bars on one side and just one on the other a few times, but spread this out, don’t bunch it all into the next few stitches.

The yarn used here is Hjertgarn Woolcott, a machine-washable 55% lambswool, 45% cotton DK.  

You’ll be using the running threads between the edge stitches and the next-to edge stitches. The edge stitches are bit trickier to see so find the next-to-edge stitch column, the running threads coming from that are the ones you want.

First you need to secure your yarn with a figure of eight join.  With right sides (RS) up, bring the needle up from back to front by the bottom corner stitch (the first few rows are also often squashed a bit, so find the running thread between the edge and next-to-edge stitch a bit higher up and come out just under the bottom one) on the left side piece of knitting, then reach around the back and come up through the same hole. The yarn is now secured to one piece of knitting.  Leave a long enough tail that you can weave it in later.  

Now bring the needle up from back to front by the bottom corner stitch on the right piece of knitting.  Now up again through the same hole on the left piece. See the figure of eight?

With RS up, pass the needle under the first running thread on the right hand piece (you put the needle in where it came out before).  Your needle stays at the front of the work, you never need to pass it all the way through the knitting. Then pass the needle under the first running thread on the left hand piece.  

Put the needle back where it came out on the right side and pass under another bar.  Put the needle back where it came out on the left side and pass under another bar. Keep repeating this, one running thread at a time.  

After a couple of inches, pull the thread taut and the sides will zip up together seamlessly (pull it back if it gets too tight). Then carry on.

When you’ve sewn under the last running bar on the right side and the left side, and pulled taut your yarn, you’ll probably find it looks a bit scruffy. Now you do put your needle all the way through your knitting.  If you’ve just done the last running bar on the left then the right, put your needle back where it came out on the left and sew all the way through.  

You now have even rows of bumps and hollows all the way along, if the colours were the same, you’d never know there was a join.  

The two edge stitches have curled inwards to form a small seam on the WS. Now weave in your end on the WS.

If joining a knit to a knit and a purl to a purl (as you’d often do if your rows have an odd number of stitches), you might want to skip under two rows on one side at the beginning so that when you zip the sides together, you don’t have a purl bump right next to a purl bump.  It will still be neat but not quite as seamless. However, the difference is minute – on this swatch half was joined in sequence so the bumps are next to each other, half was a row out so they continue seamlessly.  Can you tell the difference?

For a tutorial of mattress stitch on ribbing, see this post on Cut Out and Keep.

Ladder to the Sky Gift Bag

Ladder to the Sky gift bag

This little gift bag is knitted flat from the bottom up using Ladder to the Sky ribbing, there’s an eyelet row for the ribbon and a ruffle to finish, then the side seam and bottom seam are sewn up.

Size: Approx 6cm x 15cm or 3” x 6” overall (once ribbon is tied, about 5” of bag and 1” of ruffly top).

Materials: 1 ballDROPS Cotton Viscose (or about 60m sportweight yarn), 3.5mm needles, narrow ribbon 17” long

Gauge: 22st to 10cm across in stocking stitch, or two ladder ribs = 6cm in pattern  


SKPO = Slip a stitch knitwise, knit next stitch, pass slipped stitch over this stitch

Yrn = take the yarn from front to back over the right-hand needle and continue wrapping anticlockwise until the yarn is in the front again, ready to purl the next stitch

Kfbf =knit into the front, the back then the front of the stitch to make three stitches


Cast on 50 stitches

Row 1 (RS): K1, [P2, K2tog, YO, K2, P2] 6 times, K1

Row 2 (WS): P1, [K2, P4, K2] 6 times, P1

Row 3: K1, [P2, K2, YO, SKPO, P2] 6 times, K1

Row 4: P1, [K2, P4, K2] 6 times, P1

You might find it easier to count stitches as blocks of K4, P4 except at the beginning and end of the rows, instead of K2, P4, K2.

Repeat these pattern rows 10 times more (11 in total).  Work should measure approx 5.5” from cast on edge.

Row 45: Eyelet row: K1, P2 [K2tog, YO, K2, P1, Yrn, P2tog, P1] 5 times, K2tog, YO, K2, Yrn, P2tog, K1

Knit rows 2-4 of pattern, then rows 1-4 again.

Row 53: Increase for ruffle: K1, Kfbf to last st, K1 (146 stitches)

Row 54: Purl to end

Row 55: K1, *K2, slip first stitch over second and off righthand needle, repeat from  * to last stitch, K1 (74 stitches)

Row 56: P1, *P2tog, repeat from * to last st, P1 (38 stitches)

Cast off

Sew up side seam using mattress stitch.  I turned the bag inside out and used backstitch for the bottom seam.  Thread ribbon into eyelets starting closest to the side seam.

Brought to you by The Sheep Shop,

Nipple hat

Sky view boob

Based on the hat recipe pattern.

Size: newborn, baby, toddler, woman, man

Materials: 1 [1:1:2:2] balls Hjertegarn Bommix bamboo in shade cream, oddment of pink yarn, 3.25mm needles, wool needle

Techniques: Cast on, knit, purl, K2tog, mattress stitch

Gauge: 22st to 10cm across in stocking stitch (for this hat, you can be a stitch out and it won’t matter)


Cast on 68 [80: 98: 116: 122] stitches, using any cast on.  Make sure it’s loose, else the hat will be tight.  Casting on over two needles will help make sure it’s loose.

Work 4 [4.5: 5.5: 7: 7.5] inches of stocking stitch (knit every odd row, purl every even row).  The edge will roll up, this measurement is with the brim unrolled.

Then begin decreases:

Row 1: K1,*K4, K2tog*, repeat * to * until the last stitch, K1.   You now have 57 [67: 82: 97: 102] stitches on your needle.

Row 2, 6, 8, 10, 12 & 14: Purl across row.

Row 3: Change to the pink yarn, K1,*K3, K2tog*, K1 across row.

Row 4: Knit across row (this will make the bumpy outer areola).

Row 5: K1,*K2, K2tog* across row, K1. You now have 35 [41: 50: 59: 62] stitches on your needle.

Row 7: K1,*K1, K2tog* across row, K1.

Row 9: K1,*K2tog* across row, K1.  You now have 13 [15: 18: 21: 22] stitches on your needle.     

Row 11 & 13: Knit across row

Row 15: K1,*K2tog* across row, K1 if there is an odd number of stitches, K1

Row 16: Purl across row

Break the yarn, leaving a tail of a few of inches.  With a wool needle, thread this strand of yarn through the remaining loops on the needle, slide the stitches off and pull it tight.  Sew the sides of the hat together, starting from the bottom using the cream yarn.  The neatest way is to use mattress stitch, with the smooth side facing outwards.  Weave in the yarn ends of the yarn on the inside (remember the brim will roll up so the bottom inside will become the outside).

Wash your hat and dry it over a balloon or round icecream tub – it will look even better.

Side view boob

Brought to you by The Sheep Shop, If you like this pattern, feel free to Digg it!  The post URL is

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