Springtime Yarn

It’s sunny here today and even tho its still cold oputside that makes me think of springtime…and what yarns I have in my stash to knit with this Easter. So I thought I would flash some stash spring themed yarns today…

So first up I have a local hand dyer – Dye Candy – Lindsay AKA Hutch is a magician when it comes to colour combos and looking at this skein makes my heart melt. I love the greens, yellow and pinks that she has incorporated on this…so much so that I bought two different sock bases and a DK base in the same colourways lol!!

Dye Candy SW Merino Cashmere/Nylon Sock in colourway Prairie

IMG_0850Next up we have some yarn from one of my favourite yarn brands – Malabrigo! Two skeins of pink… one in Rios English Rose (left) and the other in Baby Silkpaca Lace in Fuchsia (right).

Malabrigo Yarns are a firm favourite of mine. You get really good quality for reasonable price per skein. I always recommend these yarns to new knitters as a good way to try natural fibres and move away from acrylic. I’m not a fan of acrylic myself but there is a place for it and I did start out using it as a new knitter so I can’t complain. But these days my view is everyone’s time is precious so why spend it with acrylic on the needles and not some fabulous Merino, Cashmere, Alpaca… or other natural fibre.

Now when you think of springtime the colour you will think of first is probably yellow… and probably because spring is represented by daffodils. The next yarn I’m going to flash is some fabulous lace weight from Eden Cottage Yarns. Victoria is passionate about hand dyeing and her colour palate comes from the landscapes around her. This skein is Pegasus Lace which is a beautiful baby alpaca and silk in a very bright yellow colourway called Dandelion.

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Now living in Northern Ireland when you think of springtime you also think of the green fields in the meadow. Jenny from Townhouse Yarns has expertly hand dyed this next Skein on her Chatham Lace base of Merino and silk which has sadly been discontinued so I suppose this yarn is now vintage stash!IMG_0846

Another favourite of mine is Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light. This yarn is soft and has a lovely stitch definition. This colourway is a limited colourway from the Loop called London Cosmopolitan, and a gorgeous shade of warm orange with subtle hints of pink.


Finally another Irish hand-dyer. This skein has been in my stash for a few years now and I still haven’t decided what it will become (suggestions please!) but it is so pretty to look at and whats not to love about Alpaca, Silk & Cashmere right? Coolree Yarns are based in Wexford and you definitely want to get your hands on a skein or two! This skein has been dyed in a lovely spring blue colourway called ‘Cornflower’.

So what yarns are you lusting over this spring? Please leave me a comment and let me know…

 

Dálki

 

BLOG POST UPDATE: There was over 8,500 downloads on ravelry for this hat pattern when I offered it as a free download when it was first released.

It’s now a paid pattern again but lots of people have fed back to me that they LOVE it because it is such simple construction – so great for budding beginners who want to make a hat for the Autumn/Winter (yes folks it’s not that far away now!!).

For some yarn inspiration you can see the current list of projects on ravelry here


You may have already seen my recent published Dálki Hat. I released it on Ravelry a few weeks ago, initially free for the month of February. But given its popularity and the numerous messages I have gotten to say “I missed it…can I have a copy?” I have decided to offer a discount this week in celebration of EYF.

Continue reading “Dálki”

Friday FO: The Wedding Shawl

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The Wedding Shawl

Last week I was on a mission…a mission to knit my friend Lisa her wedding shawl. I’d left it to last minute with 14 days to make it before the big event. I know!! The stash was raided (see I’m still stash busting!!…more on progress of that soon!) and I found the perfect yarn – Malabrigo Sock – in a natural cream shade. I knew that her dress was ivory but I’d no idea of the style so choosing a shawl pattern blindly was difficult – I needed something that I knew I would be able to knit in a week to leave me enough time to do the finishing, but also something that would be pretty for a wedding but not too fancy as to over-power the dress (its really all about the dress on the day!).

There was much trawling on ravelry. I am a huge shawl fanatic and have many (and I mean many!!) shawl patterns in my library. So choice and variety was definitely not an issue! Sometimes too much choice is a bad thing and I did feel a little overwhelmed in making sure I picked the right one. It felt a little like Don’t Tell The Bride (and for those of you outside the UK this a very popular show here on the BBC were the groom plans the wedding – including picking the dress)…would Lisa like the finished shawl? I was in a real panic but I did manage to narrow my list down to five options…

  1. The Bamboo Wedding Shawl by Purl Soho
  2. Holden by Mindy Wilkes
  3. Out of Darkness by Boo Knits
  4. Fantoosh by Kate Davies
  5. Sunflower Shawl by Tin Can Knits
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The Holden Shawl as over 8,400 projects on Ravelry

Time was ticking and after much consideration I decided to go for the much popular Holden Shawl. This shawl is a top-down style which initially is all increasing with yarn overs (YO) and stocking stitch (st-st) – so a pretty good pattern when your under pressure.

Bonus is the pattern has three sizes (small, medium and large) and you knit the stocking-stitch part until you get to the correct number of stitches for whichever size your making – this means you can slip the shawl over your shoulders as you knit and check the size. Initially I had planned to go for the large size – I certainly had enough yarn – but by the time I got to the medium size stitch count I knew it was going to be way to big going large. The benefit of this meant I could get started on the pretty wavy lace pattern sooner 🙂

The whole week every minute I had I was making that shawl – I knit it in bed, at the kitchen table, on the sofa, in work while having my lunch at my desk, to much glee from colleagues – they even got in on the act of asking how it was progressing each day. It became quite the talking point and this spurred me on to get it finished. There’s nothing like a deadline to get stuff done lol.

By Saturday (1st August) I had finished the wavy lace and was ready for cast off. Lisa wasn’t getting married until Thursday 6th August – so I had time to bling it with a beaded cast off…right? Yeah!! But boy that cast off took AGES!!! It was worth it though as the bead placed on the tip of each picot point really gave the shawl a subtle ping of bling to make it that extra special for a wedding. Though it did kill my eyes trying to put the teeny tiny bead on the crochet hook and then onto the stitch. But after three evenings it was done!!! Yeah!! Whoooopppp!!

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Showing the beads placed on each picot tip

 

Just the finishing left to do and then it was ready for the handover to the bride for the final approval. As every knitter knows the handover part is the anxious bit, though more so to a non-knitter as they don’t understand the work that has gone into making the finished piece. Thankfully Lisa is a fellow crafter and when I dropped it round to her the night before the wedding she loved it!! I was so happy. I got a sneak peak of her dress and was so pleased to see that the shawl would work with it really well.  Mission completed! 🙂

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Finished shawl – bigger than expected but so warm!

…I got so many compliments and everyone loved it!

Lisa loved it and has very kindly allowed me to showcase some of her wedding pictures with her wearing the shawl. She wore the shawl down the isle and it came in handy to keep her warm for the journey to the reception.  She told me afterwards “I got so many compliments and everyone loved it”. I’m sure you will agree that she looked stunning!

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Lisa the ‘Bride’ wearing her Wedding Shawl – doesn’t she look gorgeous!

 

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Lisa had hand knitted flowers in her bouquet
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Lisa & Colin – gorgeous picture of the happy couple!
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Close up colour image of the shawl. You can see how everything worked really well together here
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The new Mr & Mrs McNally

And as for the shawl pattern – I would definitely recommend everyone makes at least one -in fact I’ve already cast-on my second! Although this time round I don’t think it will have a beaded cast-off lol.

So what’s on your needles? Leave a comment below…

Pattern Monday: Loop 10

Did you know that The Loop is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year?

In honour of this milestone This Loop have collaborated with 12 independent designers and yarn dyers who have supported them over the years to create an anniversary pattern book called Loop 10.

The book won’t be officially available until September but over the last while they have been teasing us with previews of the patterns and bespoke yarns on ravelry.

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So here is the low-down of what’s been released so far…

Islington Shawl by Kirsten Kapur

A crescent shaped shawl using two shades of DyeForYarn Merino/Silk fingering weight yarn including the bespoke shade ‘Golden Beehive’.  Kirsten is a lover of two coloured shawls and has used a combination of garter and diamond lace with a crochet edge to create a beautiful textured shawl.

Isokon Mitts by Ysolda Teague

Isokon is a name that comes from 1930’s English architecture.  Using Old Maiden Aunt Alpaca Silk in bespoke ‘Angel Islington‘ colourway, Ysolda has created these understated mitts with clever shaping that follow the contours of the hand.

Meandering Shawl by Stephen West

Its no surprise that Stephen West has used his trademark ‘Brioche’ style to create this zig-zag constructed shawl with a scalloped. Stephen has used Madelinetosh Merino Light in bespoke shades ‘Ghost‘ and ‘London Cosmopolitan‘ which is favourite yarn of mine.

Rosemaling Mitts by Dottie Angel

A great pattern for beginners who want to try embroidery, these mitts are easy level knitting.  Dottie designed these mitts using The Uncommon Thread in the bespoke ‘Turbillion‘ colourway with embroidery done using Pigeonroof Studios Mini-Skein twist sock.

Silene Cardigan by Pam Allen

Pam has created this one-piece cardigan with raglan shaping and pretty eyelets.  Quince & Co Lark in bespoke colourway ‘London Rose‘ shows the swing design off to perfection.

Wreath Shawl by Meghan Fernandes

This design is inspired by both the designers and dyers time in England.  Meghan has used a dainty stitch with a border of overlaping branches to show of the subtle natural bespoke colourway ‘Speckled Mist‘ in Viola Merino Fingering.

…congratulations to The Loop and wishing them many more yarny years to come!

I’m a big fan of the Loop and been a customer for years now. If your looking for a little bit of extra special yarn then they are the place to go. Unfortunately I’ve only ever shopped with them online…but visiting their bricks & mortar shop in definitely is on my knitting buck list! In the meantime I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!! So congratulations to The Loop and wishing them many more yarny years to come!!

WWKIP Belfast Bus Tour

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Do you knit, crochet, sew or enjoy another portable craft? Will you be in the Belfast area on Saturday 13th June 2015? Then why don’t you join us for a Sightseeing Tour of Belfast!

This year it’s World Wide Knit in Public Days 10th anniversary and we will celebrating in style so please do join us…everyone welcome!

Where?

Meeting point is 10.00am outside HMV store, High Street, Belfast. Bus tickets are 10 pounds sterling for adults and 5 sterling for children. Bring your project and your camera.

Schedule?

1st Stop: Belfast Titanic Quarter. We will spend time here until around 11.30am with opportunities to walk around the famous landmark and take some pictures of the dock where Titanic was built.

2nd Stop: Stormont. We will visit the ‘folks on the hill’ and you will have the opportunity to walk up Carsons Hill towards the famous Northern Ireland Assembly Buildings. There are beautiful gardens to wonder around or you can just grab a spot to sit and craft until it’s time to get the bus for the next stop around 12.15.

3rd Stop: Visit to Belfast’s award winning St George’s Market. Have a wander around the stalls including Lighthouse Yarns, Top Floor Arts and Ruth Walker Glass. Then grab some local cuisine for lunch and sit for a while to soak up the atmosphere. We will stay at the market until around 2pm so there is plenty of time to see everything.

4th Stop: Cathedral Quarter. A short stop to explore the delights of 19th Romenesque Architexture of St. Anne’s Cathedral or perhaps a quick pint of the black stuff in the John Hewitt Pub. We will jump back in the bus at 2.45.

5th Stop: Botanic Gardens. A relaxing walk through the gardens or perhaps a tour of the Ulster Muesum – the choice is yours. We will head to our last stop at 5pm

Last Stop: Belfast City Hall. Crafting time and then a prize draw!!

If you can’t make it or are too far away you can join in the fun online through Twitter (@minaknits or @topfloorarts) or on Facebook (Top Floor Arts).

Cameras at the ready!!

 

The Shetland Trader MKAL: Clue 1

So you’ll remember from a previous post that I signed up to do Gudrun Johnston’s first MKAL.

After days of trying to decide on yarn I came up with using three skeins of Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn from my stash (see I am stash busting lol) in Bike Bell (neon yellow), Crystal (a pale grey tone) and Canal House (a kinda of charcoal navy).

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Last Monday the first clue was released and I decided to start with the Bike Bell (I love this colourway!!). The pattern is in three sizes – small, medium and large – and it took me right up to Sunday evening to finish the large size. I was actually worried if I was going to have enough yarn towards the last couple of pattern repeats but I got there in the end with a teeny bit left.

Now as its a MKAL I can’t publish any progress pictures (sorry!) but you can visit my ravelry project page here. Alternatively the image below is a shot of the yarn left with a sneak peak of the shawl in the background.

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Clue 2 is released today and I can’t wait…

Ravelry stats show that there are 287 other projects with 21 (including mine) using yellow. The most popular colours seem to be Blue, Grey and Pink. 164 projects are using fingering weight but others have opted for lace through to DK.

If your doing the MKAL to I’d love to hear how you’re getting on!