Wednesday 30 December 2015

Looking Back at 2015

Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support on this blog over the year. Wishing you all a Happy and Peaceful New Year 2016.

Here are a few knitting projects completed in 2015. Some designed by me, some designed by others and one knitted and designed by my lovely neighbour in Scotland (centre image). Bertie's Shetland Wool Jumper image gained the most likes on Facebook of all the photos I took in 2015!

Stranger Cardigan - Pattern by michiyo
Pathfinder Hat - in Stylecraft Yarn
Pathfinder Hat - in Shetland wool yarn

Basic Ribbed Socks - Pattern by Kate Atherley
Bertie's Shetland Wool Jumper
Scots Pine Fingerless Gloves

Baa-Baa-Ble Hat - Pattern by Donna Smith
Couronne Cardigan- Pattern by Helene Rush
Woodstack Cowl - Pattern coming soon in 2016.

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Red Roof Croft in Landscape Magazine

Since my last post there's been a bit of knitting going on but I can't show any items in case I spoil some festive surprises. I'm still making preparations for Christmas so the New Year is only just on my radar. I have though, been waiting patiently to share news of the Jan/Feb 2016 edition of Landscape magazine. It's available in newsagents today and includes a three page feature and instructions for the Red Roof Croft knitting pattern

Inspiration for the pattern came from a croft house with a red roof over on the Applecross peninsular. You can see a picture of the real house taken by Wester Ross photographer Ed Duncan over on his Facebook page - click here. The pattern is also available to download as a digital file from Ravelry.

If you don't know 'Landscape' magazine click on the image below for a preview of this edition. It also features articles about the British countryside, heritage, crafts and cookery along with great photography.
Click on the image for preview

Thursday 29 October 2015

Stranger Cardigan

I must have cast on this cardigan in April and completed it in August, which for me is pretty fast knitting for a garment. I've only recently taken a few photos of the finished item. This is the Stranger cardigan by michiyo and is published in Brooklyn Tweed Wool People Vol 4. The recommended yarn is worsted weight. I had in mind to use some of the Shetland yarn from our sheep which is DK weight, it's slightly lighter than the worsted. I test knitted a swatch using the recommended needle size 5mm which produced a more open texture but within gauge and acceptable.

I learnt a new technique while knitting this project, commonly known as a Three Needle Bind Off. This technique is used to join the two cable front panels at the centre back. It sounds complicated but in practice it's very straight forward.

The reason I chose this pattern was the cable detail around the stole like collar along with the simple construction. The cardigan is made up of five rectangular panels and is worked with no shaping. However, I did adapt the pattern to add shaping to the sleeves from the elbow to the cuff. Overall a very enjoyable project to knit.

Saturday 17 October 2015

Knitted Sock Heel Repair

I should have known better than to wear soft, fine merino and alpaca wool hand knitted socks with hiking boots. Very soon the fine wool was worn away and holes appeared. As these were a favourite pair of socks I thought about making a repair using the darning method. I confess, I've never repaired a pair of socks. Therefore, I did a quick search for darning instructions. While browsing various methods I came across a knitted heel option which looked so much better than a darning patch. The following images give you the basic idea behind the method. I won't repeat the instructions here as they are quite lengthy, not for the fainthearted. The method can be found at Replacing a sock heel.

I'm pleased with the finished result and won't be wearing these socks in hiking boots anymore!

1. Picking up stitches

2. Cut out old damaged heel and unravel old rows.

3.Pick up stitches on needles

4. Knit the heel flap and turn the heel.

5. Finished heel

Friday 2 October 2015

Stylecraft Special DK Blog Tour

If you follow Let's Knit Magazine you may remember the Stylecraft Special DK Colour Competition from earlier in the year. Readers were asked to suggest a new colour for the yarn range (which already included sixty shades). A shortlist of ten colours were made and a winner chosen by public vote.

The Winner
The overall winner was Duck Egg, however, Stylecraft liked all the shortlisted colours and has put together limited edition 50g packs to be showcased at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace 7th -11th October 2015

As part of the promotion Stylecraft asked a number of bloggers to try out sample packs of the yarn and to come up with creative ideas. (See the links at the end of this post to view all the participants in the Blog Tour and for the chance to enter a yarn Giveaway).

What did I do with my samples? 
I'd recently designed a hat pattern called Pathfinder using a Fair Isle style motif. The pattern uses four colours but I wondered if I could instead use three colours to showcase the Stylecraft yarn. There were endless lovely combinations. After some time grouping different colours together I came up with the following three combinations to make three hats. I used 8 out of the 10 new colours from the range.

Duck Egg being one of my favourites, I had to choose this. Another favourite was Pistachio,  this was used in two of the hats, as a contrast colour and once as an accent colour.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with this yarn and the vibrant new colours. 

Click here for details of Pathfinder on Ravelry.

Here's a full list with links to the participants:
Jane Crowfoot 
Josie Kitten 
Emma Varnam
Crafternoon Treats 
The Twisted Yarn 
The Patchwork Heart
Le Monde de Sucrette 
Hand Knitted Things
Cherry Heart
The 8th Gem 
Hope you enjoy browsing the creative projects!



Monday 28 September 2015


This is the Pathfinder hat. Inspired by maps and fair isle motifs. Grid lines and squares represent the distance measures on a map and diagonal directions on a compass. The repeating fair isle style design uses four colours. A contrast colour is used part way through the pattern to create additional interest. Concentric rings reminiscent of contour lines rise up the crown, topped off with a colourful pom pom. Shown above and below in wool from Jameson's of Shetland DK, accent colours are Pumpkin and Caspian.

The pattern also includes instructions for a thee colour version. Shown below knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Bluefaced Leicester DK - colours, Burnt Orange, Honey and Olive.

Full pattern details for Pathfinder can be found on Ravelry. 

Monday 21 September 2015

Shetland Wool Week 2015

Shetland Wool Week is 26th to 4th October 2015. Again, I'm not able to attend this event. As a substitute, as such, I ordered a copy of the Shetland Wool Week Annual: Volume 1 which arrived in the post at the weekend. This is a new publication full of patterns, inspiration and essays. Designers and contributors include, Ella Gordon, Hazel Tindall, Kate Davies, Outi  Kater, Gudrun Johnson, Donna Smith and others. Donna is this years patron and designer of the hat on the cover, the very popular 'Baa-ble Hat'. I'm enjoying reading the articles about knitting and it's importance in the Shetland Isles and browsing the knitting patterns for future projects.

I first picked up a copy of the pattern for the Baa-ble Hat at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March. It's also included in the Shetland Wool Week publication and is available to download free via their website. 

A few weeks ago I made a start on the hat project. I had a selection of un-dyed yarn from our Shetland sheep and wondered if I could use the colours to make this hat. Black, grey, brown and white provided enough substitute shades and contrasts. This is a lovely pattern and easy to knit. It's a fun hat for both adults and children. The instructions are for the adult size but you can find a guide to knitting a child sized version on Donna Smiths blog.

Here's a few images of my Baa-ble Hat project...

Monday 15 June 2015

A Yorkshire Yarn

Having a relaxing time down in Yorkshire, drinking tea and knitting. Not only drinking 'Yorkshire' tea but knitting with yarn spun in Yorkshire too. The people at Yarn Stories have sent me some samples to try out from their mill in Huddersfield.  This small town was once at the centre of the Yorkshire woollen industry before the decline in the mid 20th century. However, there's a strong continuing tradition in the town for textiles and a resurgence of woollen products. Here's what Yarn Stories say,

"In a Yorkshire mill, steeped in history and tradition, a new brand has been created. Yarn Stories takes a unique approach to spinning, creating the highest quality yarns from superior fibres.

Our yarns have been shared with talented designers drawn from all over the world in a truly collaborative relationship. In turn, the designers have created collections of patterns unlike any other – designs that promote fashionable hand knit and crochet to a discerning audience."

Yarn Stories is currently offering a free shade card and free digital pattern until 1st July 2015. The shade cards have samples of 4ply, DK & Aran weights, in merino and fine merino with baby alpaca. Patterns feature international designers including, Carol Feller and Tanis Gray .

My yarn samples in 'Duck Egg' and 'Burnt Sienna' are fine merino 4ply. I've been working with a lot of Shetland and Blue Faced Leicester yarn recently which is very soft. But this merino is really fine and soft, it's also in a good range of colours. 

I chose to knit a pair of fingerless gloves with a simple Fair Isle motif called Junko by Katya Frankel. The pattern can also be found on Ravelry I knit these without printing out the instructions, just using the digital PDF version on my tablet. The pattern is very well written, nicely presented and easy to follow, also there are instructions for a matching hat. 

The finished gloves are a perfect fit and feel very comfortable. They'll be travelling back north with me, I'll probably need them, it'll be summer up in Scotland!

Wednesday 10 June 2015


This lovely publication arrived in the post all the way from 'down under'. Australian Homespun magazine features sewing, quilting, patchwork, embroidery with knitting and crochet. On the cover is the fantastic, fabric, Mr. Fox, a cute change from all the knitted projects I've seen so much of recently.

The Pin Interest section, 'Good Yarn about a Crofters Cottage' mentions yours truly, Hand Knitted Things, no less. The croft house knitting pattern was inspired by a place near to my home in Scotland.

Image: Universal Publishing

Designer Kaffe Fassett's latest venture also gets a mention. An exhibition of 15 quilts inspired by the antique quilt collection in the Quilt Museum in York, UK. The exhibit is on display there until September 2015, maybe I'll get over while I'm back in Yorkshire. (Incidentally the man himself was mentioned on this blog back in November 2014 in this post, 'Knitted work of Art').

Browsing through the range of projects, if I had no knitting and unlimited time available, the cushion cover 'A Birdwatchers Blooms' by Linda Guy of Sew Quilt Designs is something I'd attempt. I like the stylised characters in this combination of embroidery and applique.

However, I have loads of knitting to complete, not least the  item in the pictures, more about that in due course...

Sunday 29 March 2015

Socks Yarns & Travel

It was good to meet people behind the names of some favourite yarn companies at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I also acquired a few skeins of their 4ply/fingering weight yarn to sustain my current enthusiasm for sock knitting. They are as follows:

John Dunn-Ballam - Easyknits - Gobstoppers - Hanzo Tokyo - Hand Dyed - 75% superwash Merino, 25% Nylon

Lyndsey Roberts - The Border Tart - Blue Moon - Hand Dyed Natural Indigo - 75% Superwash BFL, 35% Nylon

Yvonne McSwinney - Dublin Dye - Swing Sock - Water Sprite 75% Merino 25% Nylon

Recently I completed a pair of the Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley. I enjoyed the simple straightforward design so much I cast on another pair of socks using this pattern in the Easyknits Hanzo Tokyo. The yarn is producing some bold broad stripes in contrasting colours of charcoal, grey, burgundy and gold. A great travel knitting project, not too much thinking and small enough to carry around.

Sunday 22 March 2015

Bertie's Shetland Wool Jumper

Image courtesy of Bouncing Bertie
This is the very handsome, Bertie. He lives with my lovely neighbour Gail. She's been trying out some of the undyed wool yarn from my Shetland sheep and knitted Bertie this gorgeous jumper. The starting point for the design was The Perfect Fit Top-Down Dog Sweater by Jessika Lane on Ravelry

Image Travelling Tree Designs

Bertie seems to think his owners knitting experience is somewhat limited, however, I would disagree. Gail not only calculated the size and perfect fit but she also incorporated a fair isle motif into the plain sweater design. You can read how she designed the sweater here Too much woolly thinking?

Image courtesy of Bouncing Bertie

Bertie is a very intelligent wire-hair fox terrier and has his own blog, you can read more about his adventures and 'unique take on life' with Gail on Bouncing Bertie's Blog. His thoughts about his new jumper can be found in this post, "Finished at last, but is it Sunday best?"

As you can see Bertie also likes to pose for the camera!

Image courtesy of Bouncing Bertie

Image courtesy of Bouncing Bertie

Image courtesy of Bouncing Bertie