Thursday 18 October 2018

Transitions Shawl

The words "Life Changes" could bring to mind so many meanings. For this shawl it's a new variegated DK weight yarn from Stylecraft. There are 8 shades in the range and for this shawl project I chose three, Roses, Berries and Ashes. The yarn is a mix of 25% wool and 75% acrylic, 100g balls, 298m /326 yds long.

The shawl is a triangular shape knitted in garter stitch (knit each row). The shaping is very easy to achieve with an increase and decrease on every other row. Small stripes occur when a new colour is added. The main interest is provided by the colour variations with in each shade. I particularly like the Berries shade which incorporates a purple plum colour through to cherry red. The final edge is finished off with an eyelet and picot cast off detail. 

Projects pegged to the fence with a scenic background are becoming a regular feature. A sunny morning (before the rain started again) resulted in this light and not too breezy shot.

I've enjoyed working with this yarn very much. It feels very soft to handle and I love the way the colour variations have developed along the length of the shawl. The colour changes and stripes were the inspiration for the name 'Transitions Shawl' and the pattern can be found on Ravelry.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Knitting Kits at Lucy Locket Land

Recently I teamed up with the lovely Lucy, from Locket Land and I'm delighted to announce two new knitting kits have been produced from my knitting patterns. These were launched last week at Yarndale in Skipton, North Yorkshire.

First is the Counting Sheep kit, this includes yarn made with fleece from my shetland sheep. Several natural colours are in the kits and there's enough to make a mini flock of at least five sheep. 

The image below shows some of the skeins in preparation ranging in colour from white, fawn, grey, brown and black.

The sheep kit includes the printed pattern, shetland wool yarn and natural wool filling in a neat presentation box. These are available online from Lucy's website and from her bricks and mortar shop (more about her shop later). 

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

Next, it's the Mini Red Roof Croft House pattern which has been so popular. 

For the Wee Croft House Knitting kits Lucy hand dyed shetland wool in pretty primary colours for the doors and roofs. There's enough yarn to make all three of these cute little houses.

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

The house kits include the printed pattern, the yarn and natural wool filling in cardboard presentation boxes. As with the sheep the house kits are available from Lucy's website and her shop.

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

The knitting kit production line...

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

Now, a little bit about Lucy's bricks and mortar shop. It is an exciting creative hub located near Sunderland in the north east of England. The shop stocks stunning yarns, unique work by local artisans, there are craft workshops (not just knitting) as well as knitting groups. 

Here's a little look around... 

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

Image courtesy Lucy Locket Land

Hope you enjoyed that quick visit.  Check out the opening times and keep up to date with news via Lucy's Instagram and website.

Monday 8 October 2018

Stylecraft Blog Tour - Scallop Scarf and Mittens

I'm delighted to be participating again in Stylecraft's annual Blogtour. For this tour I chose the Autumn Leaves yarn pack which includes 5 shades of the newly released Bellissima. It's a DK weight yarn in 100% acrylic. The image below shows the 5 shades I've been working with (there are 14 shades in the new range).

Left to right: mellow yellow, sugar snap, clotted cream, ash rose, rio rose.

One of the many qualities I like about Bellissima is the good stitch definition.  I had the idea to make a long scarf, using an all over lacy pattern called "scallop" with bands of colour separated by the neutral cream. The bold colours increase in length from one end to the other.

Knitted on straight needles, the lacy bands of colour increase gradually in length along the scarf beginning with 3 pattern repeats and ending with six repeats. The generous length allows for a wrap around the neck and plenty for an extra tie in a knot, if required.

When I decided the scarf was long enough, there was about half the yarn left over in each colour. 

After debating what to do with the surplus yarn, a pair of scallop cuff mittens were developed. These mittens are knitted flat on straight needles. I started off making a pair in mellow yellow. 

But given I like the  other colours too! It's always useful to have a spare pair or two...

The Scallop Scarf pattern is free to download until 15th October 2018.

Image courtesy of Stylecraft

Thank you everyone who entered the giveaway.
The giveaway is now closed.
You could win a yarn pack of Autumn Leaves by clicking on the link below

Autumn Leaves Yarn Pack Giveaway

Begins 10am BST Monday 8th October 2018
and ends  
10am BST Tuesday 9th October 2018

Thank you to the wonderful Catherine's Crochet Corner for yesterday's stop off. Tomorrow the tour visits Sarah from Annaboo's Housecheck out her fabulous crochet blog. To round off, here's a list of all the blogs on this years tour...

Monday 24 September 2018

Head Over Heels All Stars

New yarns in Head over Heels All Stars have arrived from Stylecraft. All 6 shades have been  chosen by Stylecraft Blogstars and inspired by the artist David HockneyEarlier this year knitters and crocheter's voted in their thousands for their favourite combinations of colours to add to the yarn range. There's a post about the competition on the Stylecraft blog. I was amazed and thrilled to find out my combination was one of the winners.

Influenced by this picture on the cover of the book by Chris Stephens about the artist I chose muted shades of blue, green and a splash of pink. The picture is called 'Pool with two figures'.

Six shades from the special dk range went into my yarn combination.

Here are some details about the yarn:
75% super wash wool
25% nylon
100g ball weight
needle size 2.25mm
machine washable at 30 degrees

This is how the final 'Pool' yarn looks close up. The wool blend is durable for socks but light enough for making knitted or crochet shawls.

Below is the shawl I designed specially for Head Over Heels All Stars 'Pool'. The pattern is available from Stylecraft bricks and mortar stockists and is free with the yarn purchases.

The 6 new All Star colour combinations and designers are from top left 

Saltaire by The Twisted Yarn,  Ossie by Cherry Heart, Woldgate by Josie Kitten

bottom row from the left:

Pool by (yours truly) Hand Knitted Things, Splash by Zooty Owl, Red Pots by Attic 24.

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Trio of Owls

Inspired by things autumnal, 'Trio of Owls' is the latest toy pattern from Hand Knitted Things in seasonal muted colours. This cute little family is easy to make with knit and purl stitches in contrasting colours and textures, with the addition of large rustic buttons creating the whimsical character features. 

The colourful body and wings are made with a recent addition to the Batik Elements yarn range called magnesium. This is combined with two solid shades, biscuit and gold. 

Here's some pattern details for this project:

x2 50g ball Stylecraft Batik Elements Magnesuim 
x1 50g ball Batik dk Biscuit
x1 50g ball Batik dk Gold

x1 pair 3mm (US3) knitting needles (small owl)
x1 pair 3.25mm (US3) knitting needles (medium and large owl)
x1 pair 5mm (US8) knitting needles (large owl)

x1 3.5mm (US3) crochet hook for making the feet only
x2 x 20mm diameter buttons (small owl)
x2 x 30mm diameter buttons (medium owl)
x2 40mm diameter buttons (large owl)
x6 decorative 10mm diameter buttons (these are optional added to the front of the larger buttons)
Sewing needle suitable for the buttons
Blunt tapestry needle for sewing and weaving yarn ends
x2 large hands full of toy filling

Finished sizes
small owl - 9cm x 10cm x 6cm (3.5 x 4 x 2.5 ins)
medium owl - 14cm x 14cm x 8cm (5.5 x 5.5 x 3 ins)
large owl - 16cm x 20cm x 4cm (5.5 x 8 x 4 ins)

Skills required to make the owls
cast on 
cast off
make a chain of crochet
basic sewing on buttons and seams

Pattern is available on Ravelry called 'Trio of Owls'.

Buttons were sourced from a selection from The Textile Garden and some already in my collection.

Update: The giveaway is now closed, a winner has been chosen and notified by email. 

Thank you to everyone who entered.

The Giveaway runs from 

Tuesday 4th September to Monday 10th September 2018 

and includes the following:

Digital pattern 'Trio of Owls'

Yarn Pack from Stylecraft containing the following:

x2 50g ball Batik Elements Magnesuim 
x1 50g ball Batik dk Biscuit
x1 50g ball Batik dk Gold

(the buttons are not included in the giveaway)

To enter the giveaway follow the link below, 
enter an email address 
so we can contact you if you win. 
The winner will be randomly selected and notified by email. 


Good luck!

Monday 27 August 2018

Linen Drape

What a summer it's been with the hot dry weather here in the UK. There's been no need for extra layers and shawls. 

Back in February I had an idea for a design using the new Linen Drape double knitting from Stylecraft. The design was completed in May. Since it's now August, I though to write a short post about it before the summer turns into Autumn.

There are 8 shades currently available (from the top down): Peacock, Sangria, Cranberry, River, Coral, Lime, Wheat, Natural.

Some more yarn details:
70% Viscose, 30% Linen
186m / 203 yds
4mm (US6) recommended needle size
Tension 22sts over 28 rows 10x10cm (4x4ins)
Machine washable at 30 degrees

The fresh clean colours of Lime, Natural and River, were picked when it was snowing in February. I was looking forward to summer, blue skies, fluffy white clouds, green fields. There's certainly been the blue skies but I couldn't have anticipated the heat and the parched brown fields of England's green and pleasant land. 

The shawl is knitted from the top down working a combination of stocking stitch and yarn over knit two together eyelets. So far I haven't written up the pattern for this but hopefully I'll get round to it soon. 

The yarn lives up to it's name, in that it does drape really beautifully when knitted up. It is also lovely to work with and has a silk like sheen to the fibres. 

August is almost at end and the evenings, dare I mention, are drawing in somewhat cooler than of late. I'm looking forward to  wearing this shawl before summer is officially over. As I write it's been the Bank Holiday Weekend and of course, raining! The grass outside is slowing returning to it's more usual shade of green.

The weather forecast for the working week is for blue skies and fluffy white clouds...

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Visitors from Scotland

Last week the Knitting and Crochet Guild Archive (KCG) in West Yorkshire welcomed some visitors all the way from Scotland, Carol Christiansen, Shetland Museum curator and Roslyn Chapman from Glasgow University. The KCG archive holds an enviable collection of hand knitted "Shetland" lace shawls. Some of the most interesting and delicate examples had been selected in advance to show the visitors. 

First on the morning agenda customary, tea, coffee and biscuits in the office and a chance to discuss the archive in general.

Carol and Roslyn outlined the purpose of their visit which related to research started in 2016.  It centres around the traditions of Shetland lace knitting, cultural implications, branding and the marketing of "authentic" Shetland knitwear. 

Filmed and broadcast live, a study day held in 2016 about the research gives an overview of the project. The recording can be see here or by clicking on the image below. Background information to this film can be found here on the Shetland Museums website.

Following our refreshments we relocated to the main archive. Much discussion and information was exchanged around each knitted item displayed. Carol and Roslyn shared their in depth knowledge of Shetland lace shawls, haps and garment construction, along with insights on authenticity.  

Members of the KCG team shared information on the history and provenance of items in the collection. Much discussion followed which I haven't included here, but the following images hopefully give a snapshot of some of the lace knitting the team had prepared for the visitors.

The above images show two good examples of large shawl/haps with the knitting pattern for both shown below.

Knitting pattern books dating from the 1800's are held by the KCG archive.  The Edinburgh based author Jane Gaugain wrote extensively on "Shetland" lace knitting. A blog post by Kate Davies  "In the steps of Jane Gaugain" gives an insight into this prolific pattern writer.

Going off-piste at the end of the day, some knitted treats from the archive were retrieved to show the visitors. Three lovely examples of children's Fair Isle jumpers dating from the 1930's to 1950's.

Then some excellent examples of Bohus knitting from the collection. (I wrote a little piece about this style in an earlier blog post here).

And finally the group photo, (unfortunately some of the team had to leave early and are missing from the photo). 
From left to right Trish, Julia, Barbara, Ruth, Carol and Angharad.

Following a very informative and interesting day our visitors left for the long trip back north.