Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The Power of Knitting

 


So happy to have been gifted a copy of
'The Power of Knitting' by Loretta Napoleoni, published by Tarcher Perigee, October 2020.

The title grabbed my attention followed by a curiosity to find out what could this Italian journalist, economist and political analyst have to say about the gentle craft of knitting.

"In a fractured world plagued by anxiety and loneliness, knitting is coming to the rescue of people from all walks of life. Economist and lifelong knitter Loretta Napoleoni unveils the hidden power of the purl and stitch mantra: an essential tool for the survival of our species, a means for women to influence history, a soothing activity to calm us, and a powerful metaphor of life". (Extract from the publishers)

Loretta takes you on a personal journey through her life. Along the way she describes historical, social and political changes with knitting an unlikely and influencing feature. Family, friends and strangers feature in this story of how knitting has influenced Loretta and the people around her.

In a particularly interesting section (Chapter 7 Knitting in the Age of Neuroscience) the author describes discoveries in neuroscience which explain how knitting can be helpful for mental health and wellbeing. She describes the way she coped with personal challenges and over came them with the help of knitting.

There are also 10 knitting patterns included in the book.  As remembrance day is fast approaching the poppy pattern caught my eye. It’s a quick and easy project.



The book is an inspirational, positive read and I recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about the gentle craft of knitting told from a different, interesting perspective.







Thursday, 6 August 2020

Make Along and a Competition

Would you like to join a knitting Make Along for this blanket? It’s the Special Stripy Blanket in a new colour way called ‘Sea Breeze’ made with 7 shades of Stylecraft Special Chunky yarn.

The Make Along begins on 13th August in the Stylecraft Yarns Make Along Group on Facebook where you’ll be able to find the link to the pattern with a special discount code.

The original colour way 'Beach Huts' (on the left in the image above) and the new 'Sea Breeze' were inspired by the seaside.


There’s a competition to design a new colour way based on a 'Deck Chair' theme. You can find the entry template on the Stylecraft website by clicking on the image below and downloading. To enter the competition choose a 7 colour combination from the Special Chunky shade range. List your colours on the template chart (with your contrast colour first). Scan or take a photo of your finished chart and email to bronagh.miskelly@stylecraftltd.co.uk

I’ll be selecting my favourite colour way and the winner will receive the yarn courtesy of Stylecraft to make their own version of the blanket.

Good Luck!





Monday, 23 March 2020

Ripples Shawl Knitting Pattern



Keeping busy and a positive mind set is something to be aimed for and never more than during this time of Covid-19. Knitting is something which helps me to stay occupied and focused generally but especially so now. 


This latest pattern is a shawl which uses a variegated cotton blend yarn with contrast stitches creating ripple effects. It's a wrap to use as a cover up when sitting outside (hopefully) enjoying the unpredictable summer weather. 

The yarn is from Stylecraft and inspired by the artist Monet. This shade of blue called Giverny gives an hint of the artists work and reminiscent of his painting the Water Lilies. A definite summery  blue vibe with hints of soft pink. The ripple effects are created using two solid colour shades of Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK.

Ripples Shawl knitting pattern is available to download from Ravelry. 

Read on if you'd like further details about the pattern.



Skills required
Cast on, cast off, knit, purl, knit 2 stitches together, slip stitches, knit into the front and back of a stitch.



Yarn
(A) Main colour, x4 Stylecraft Monet aran 100g 183m/200yds shade, Giverney #3971
(B) Contrast colour, x1 Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK, 50g 92m/100yds, shade Grey Blue #3965
(C) Contrast colour, x1 Stylecraft Classique Cotton DK, 50g 92m/100yds, shade Ivory #3665




Needles
5.5mm circular knitting needle 60cm long to accommodate number of stitches

Notions 
Blunt tapestry needle for weaving in ends

Size
190cm (74inches) long x 35cm (14 inches) wide


Ripples Shawl is available to download from Ravelry.










Thursday, 12 March 2020

Bambino Awesome Avocado



Awesome Avocado is the name of this warm yellow yarn. It's a new colour addition to the Bambino DK baby yarn from Stylecraft


Super soft and lovely to work with this premium 100% acrylic is machine washable and perfect for baby garments.





A selection of new baby knitting patterns launched with the Awesome Avocado (there's also All at Sea, a lovely teal shade added too). 



There are two hat patterns which are suitable for boys/girls and both have pompom finishing touches. (Stylecraft pattern numbers 9761 and 9757). I made a hat combining elements of both designs. I particularly enjoyed knitting the Irish Moss stitch which is a simple four row repeat and creates a lovely textured surface.

My yarn sample Awesome Avocado looks great with Purple Passion, Bellisima DK.


This was a quick and easy knitting project, loved the super soft yarn and the colours together.





Monday, 2 March 2020

SS20 Naturals Yarn


I've been testing a lovely new yarn called Stylecraft Naturals, a blend of 40% cotton and 60% bamboo. 

There are a total of 43 lovely chalky colours in the range. The yarn is DK weight in 100g balls and 250m in length. In this Spring/Summer 2020 season release there are 8 core shades with pattern support, they are Lilac, Lavender, Sea Foam, Surf, Citronelle, Spring Green, Pale Pink and Coral.


Surf and Sea Foam shades look particularly appealing to me.




Combining them to make a sweet little top down baby cardigan.



My regular 'go to' place for knitting patterns is Ravelry, on this occasion in search of a super easy pattern for a baby cardigan. The requirements of DK weight, size 0-6 months and yarn quantity of no more than 250m, the patternBaby Kina’ by Muriela fitted all the criteria.

Choosing to make the cardigan in the up to 3 month old size I used 3.25mm needles for the collar and 3.75mm for the body. The pattern sizing goes from 3, 6, 12 to 18 months.



There are instructions for both a short and long sleeved version. Having opted for the short sleeve version, I'm hoping the weather will be warmer when my intended recipient is wearing it.




The yarn is soft, smooth and easy to handle. As well as being a great cotton yarn to work with it has a lovely drape for garments. 

I loved working with this yarn and pattern. Knitting another cardi in a larger size using this yarn is a definite possibility in the future.






Monday, 27 January 2020

Garter Yoke Baby Cardi



I've been trying out this lovely new yarn. It's Regatta DK from the Spring/Summer 2020 collection at Stylecraft. I received a sample in the ‘Henley’ colour way and made a quick, easy baby cardigan.

Searching the knitting site Ravelry for a simple baby cardigan brought up this pattern, Garter Yoke Baby Cardi by Jennifer Hoel. It's knit from the top down with seamless raglan sleeves. At the time of searching there were almost 5,000 projects made using the pattern, quite popular and lots of good reviews, free to download as well. I made a guess that the one ball sample would be enough to complete the project.


The pattern instructions are for one size 6-12 months. But easily adapted by using larger/small needles and heavier/lighter weight yarn. The pattern calls for sport weight yarn and 3.5mm needles. For my project I used a 4.5mm circular needle in the DK weight Regatta and almost all the ball of yarn.

The way the colours work in the garter stitch section looks particularly nice. Also for a cotton yarn it is easy to work with and has a nice bounce to it. As I used this for a baby knit, needless to say it is also very soft on the skin.









The print effect yarn is 76% Cotton, 18% Polyamide, 8% Polyester Elastane, weight DK, 260m/284yds, 100g and comes in 6 colour combinations. 

Image curtesy of Stylecraft 


Stylecraft have 5 pattern leaflets for the yarn offering cheerful designs for girls and women. Including this chevron poncho using the Habour colour way, which if I had time I'd make for myself. I love the way the colours work and the casual easy to wear design.

If only I had the time!

Image curtesy of Stylecraft

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Emma's Yarn meets Baby Tea Leaves


This lovely skein of yarn was sent to me by Yarnworx.com. The company is an online store based in the UK. Most of their yarn is ethically sourced and hand dyed. 

Yarnworx are the exclusive importers of Emma's Yarn.  A brand label I had seen quite a lot on social media and was very interested to try some myself.  Incidentally,     Emma's Yarn is hand dyed in Florida. 

I was drawn to this 'Practically Perfect Sock' in minty greens and shades of pale to deep pink with a cream base. As I write it is well into January, even though I finished with Christmas weeks ago, 'Christmas Sprinkles' the colour way name, didn't put me off. 


After winding the skein into this ball the colours looked more evenly distributed. I couldn't wait to get on with a project. Needing something to start and finish reasonably quickly, immediately ruled out a pair of socks!


Having become a grandma for the first time, which makes me so happy,  every yarn I see is scrutinised for potential baby knits. This yarn being 80% merino wool, 20% nylon, 100g in weight, 365 meters/400yards and super soft, seemed an ideal option.

Browsing on the knitting website, Ravelry, I came across the pattern Baby Tea Leaves cardigan which looked suitable. Deciding to knit the smallest size 0-6 months helped ensure a swift completion of the project.  (The pattern is by Melissa DeBarre and instructions are for sizes, 0-6, 6-12, 12-18 and 18-24 months).


The cardigan is knitted from the top down in one piece with a feature ruched yoke and garter stitch trim. For the garter trim I opted to use some plain contrast yarn from my stash to highlight the yoke feature. 


Mother of pearl buttons complete the cardigan.


The way the colours are scattered across the knitting look so pretty. It does indeed look like Christmas Sprinkles. I loved working with this yarn and would definitely use it again. 

In this size the cardigan used half a ball of yarn.  I could have made one of the larger size cardigans easily with the skein. 

Now I'll need another project to use up the spare yarn, perhaps something for myself, we'll see...








Monday, 6 January 2020

A Splash of Winter Colour



I've been revisiting some of my previously published patterns and knitting them in new colour ways. A splash of winter colour is what I wanted for this hat. 

This is  Pathfinder inspired by maps and fair isle motifs. Grid lines and squares represent the distance measures on a map and diagonal directions on a compass. Concentric rings reminiscent of contour lines rise up to the crown, topped off with a colourful pom pom.


I chose Bellisima DK from Stylecraft,  which has a range of saturated hues and sophisticated pastels. Shades used were Mellow Yellow, Silver Lining and Purple Passion. I like the warmth and rich tones of these three colours together. Thanks to Stylecraft Yarns for supplying the yarn.


It's a beautifully soft dk weight with great stitch definition and easy to care for in acrylic. There are 18 colours to choose from and Bellisima DK comes in 100g balls at 268m long.





The first knitting project I've completed in the new year and I'm really pleased the way it turned out. So far here the winter has been relatively mild but we still have February to look forward to and who knows what it might bring. 

Looking forward to lots more knitting during 2020.