Monday 28 October 2013

Debbie Bliss Blue Faced Leicester DK Review

I'm half way to completing a crochet hexagon throw using Debbie Bliss's Blue Faced Leicester DK in the colours above. They all have a subtle heather appearance. This is turning out to be a lovely material to work with so I thought I'd share some information about the yarn. I'm using the same size crochet hook as the recommended needle size 4mm (US6).
Here's a close up of the part finished crochet throw - more about this project once it's finished!

  • The Blue Face Leicester DK comes in 108m / 50g doughnut style balls.
  • 100% British wool superwash
  • 22 stitches over 28 rows = 10cm (4ins)

The colour range includes 16 shades, some stronger shades as well as the pastel ones I've chosen.

The ball band includes a silhouette of the Blue Faced Leicester sheep. I found this description and image of the (male) sheep in my  little book called 'Know your Sheep'. It's a native British breed,  has the finest wool and is highly prized by home spinners. I am finding this yarn very soft and easy to handle.

So far so good with the crochet but what about the knitting? Being a bit short of time to make a full size jumper I came across a pattern for these tiny raglan sleeve sweaters by Greens and Jeans on Ravelry. I used 4mm double pointed needles to make these sample sweaters. I like the stitch definition on the tiny cable and on the colour work.

There's a pattern book for the yarn with a range of sweaters for adults and children. I picked out a few that caught my eye. I especially like the Fair Isle style of the sweaters and the simple classic shapes of the blue cardigan and the child's coat.

Image with permission Designer Yarns

Image with permission Designer Yarns 

Image with permission Designer Yarns

Image with permission Designer Yarns

Hope you enjoyed this quick review. 

Have you tried this yarn or made any of the garments in the book?

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Colours of Shetland by Kate Davies - Book Review

I first came across the Edinburgh based designer Kate Davies via the knitting website Ravelry and then started following her blog.  When her book 'Colours of Shetland' was published I was drawn to it immediately. Since I started keeping Shetland sheep anything to do with 'Shetland' catches my eye. Published in 2012 the book features 10 signature hand-knits inspired by the Shetland Islands.
Patterns include:
Stevenson Sweater
Stevenson Gauntlets
Puffin Sweater
Puffin Mantle
Ursula Cardigan
Ursula Mittens
Northmavine Hoody
Northmavine Hap
Scatness Tunis
Scatness Tam

All of the patterns in the book are also available to purchase individually via Ravelry.

What I like most about this book is the combination of pattern instructions with details about how the design was inspired. These include pieces about the Shetland Islands history, colours and textures of the landscape and wildlife all illustrated with wonderful photography and graphics.

Instructions are very clear and detailed along with 'how to' knit swatches for each project to ensure correct size and fit.

Many of the garments have a smaller project in the same design for example a hat or a pair of gloves. You can try out the smaller project before making a commitment to the larger one. I love the Scatness tunic at the end of the book. So I might try the Scatness hat featured on the front cover to try out the pattern design.

So far I've completed the Ursula Mittens. This pattern was inspired by the writer Ursula Venables who lived and worked on the Islands documenting the wildlife, landscape and crofting life during the 1940's. I altered the mitten pattern into a fingerless mit version just because I find this style more practical for me. I love the simple Fair Isle design in the three colour combination.

The other larger project using this design is the Ursula cardigan. It's a classic shape and very much fits in with the vintage styling that is so popular just now.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book featuring traditional knits combined with a modern twist, presented against background information about the Shetland Islands. As if I wasn't already inspired to make a trip to the Islands this certainly has added to my interest to go there one day...

Friday 4 October 2013

Shetland Wool Week 7-13 October 2013

Next week is Shetland Wool Week 7-13 October. On Monday 7th October I'll be letting you know what this little lot of Shetland wool and other goodies is for and how you can win it...have a great weekend...