Monday, 17 July 2017

Knit To Support The Grenfell Tower Block Fire Victims

The charity Knit for Peace is selling three patterns donated by designer Jane Crowfoot to raise money for victims of the Grenfell Tower Block fire in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

The official death toll of the tragedy, which took place in the early hours of 14th June, stands at 80, although police have warned that this could rise. Many residents who escaped lost everything in the fire. Knit for Peace responded to requests for knitted blankets and trauma teddies for the victims and will be sending knitting kits to survivors to help them "feel the calming effects of knitting".

Knitters are asked for a £5 donation to download each of the three patterns.

The patterns are:

Beaded Crochet Collar

Image courtesy of Knit for Peace



Comfy Crochet Cowl


Image courtesy of Knit for Peace


Moroccan Tile Wrap


Image courtesy of Knit for Peace

Download your favourite or all three here.

Knit for Peace is always keen to accept donations of new and unworn hand knitted items to distribute in hospitals, prisons, women's refuges, hospices, refugee centres and developing countries.

The charity if currently looking for gifts of warm adult clothes, bed socks, scarves, adult hats and large blankets.  Information on how to donate is on Knit for Peace's website.



Saturday, 15 July 2017

Baskerville Is Back! Plus Blacker Yarns, Countess Ablaze, Baa Ram Ewe & Kate Davies Yarn Launches

Baskerville is back!

Baskerville image courtesy of Kettle Yarn Co
Linda Lenovic, owner of Kettle Yarn Co, uses British Gotland fleece blended with Exmoor Blueface and silk to produce her own Baskerville yarn.

After months of waiting for the latest shearing to take place Baskerville is now back in stock in all seven of its hues.

Lenovic creates small batches of this slightly luminous yarn and once its gone knitters will have to wait until next year's fleece batch!

Baskerville is fingering weight and a 100g skein costs £24.


Blacker Yarns 2ply lace weight

Image courtesy of Blacker Yarns
The latest addition to Blacker Yarns' range is a 2ply lace Blue-faced Leicester yarn retailing at £7.80 for a 50g ball.

The range comes in 13 colours inspired by coral reefs. I haven't had a chance to do the squish test yet or knit up a sample square but Sonja Bargielowska from Blacker Yarns writes:
"Our BFL lace-weight yarn is worsted spun, meaning the yarn goes through an additional five processes in the mill to remove the shorter, coarser fibres. This creates a more luxurious yarn, with a sumptuous handle - it's no surprise BFL yarns are a firm favourite amongst hand knitters!"
The yarn is suitable for any lace knitting patterns including shawls and scarves.

Countess Ablaze restocks one-off lace colourways

Image courtesy of Countess Ablaze.
OAK stands for one of a kind and the Manchester-based knit dyer Countess Ablaze has restocked her online store with her latest delectable lace OAK skeins.

Her lace yarn base is a blend of British Bluefaced Leicester and mulberry silk (the yarn is spun in Peru, but I'm including it on the blog because the wool is British and it's dyed in the UK), creating a machine washable fibre that's suitable to wear next to the skin.

One 100g skein, says the Countess, is enough to knit a shawl or scarf. A skein costs £19 or £21 depending on the colourway.


Baa Ram Ewe's big balls

Image courtesy of baa ram dew
At the other end of the thickness spectrum Leeds-based yarn producer baa ram ewe is selling Big Balls in eight shades as part of its Autumn/Winter season launch range.

They cost a whopping £48 but for that you get a whole kilogram of English 56 dyed fibre, apart from the Ecru shade, which comes from Derbyshire Gritstone.

These are not spun yarn balls as we know them. The balls are suitable for spinning and/or felting at home, or alternatively you can use your arm or very large needles to knit the fibre into a bulky blanket.

Again, I haven't had chance to squish the yarn yet but the whole premise sounds like lots of fun.

Kate Davies' Aran Tweed

Image courtesy of Kate Davies
In an email to subscribers on Friday 14th July Davies teased knitters with the news that her forthcoming yarn launch will be Milarrochy Tweed, inspired by an old oak tree at Milarrochy Bay near her Scottish home.

She says that the yarn is being spun in Donegal with additional finishing in Yorkshire. Milarrochy Tweed is fingering weight and will be available in 12 shades of 25g skeins.
No images of the yarn are available yet, will it become as popular as her debut Scottish DK yarn range Buachaille?


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Vintage Special: Bletchley Park Knitting; Susan Crawford Shetland Update & Land Girl Jumper

Today's post is dedicated to recent news on all things vintage. The trend in scouring the archives for patterns from the 1920s - 1960s shows no sign of abating, with talented British designers rewriting old patterns to suit modern yarns and techniques and also creating new designs inspired by those of yesteryear.

Bletchley Park's call for hand-knit 1940s garments

The ground-breaking museum near Milton Keynes celebrates the secret intelligence and code breaking that took place there in World War 2. The exhibitions show how the emerging science of information technology changed the course of the war, with many rooms set out as they were during the 1939-1945 conflict.

In June the museum appealed for knitters to donate garments knitted using authentic 1940s patterns put on display and show what everyday sartorial life would have been like for the men and women who worked there. The appeal was so successful that applications are on hold for the moment. When the items are all on display at Bletchley Park, made famous by the 2014 film The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the museum will be well worth another visit.

I visited in December 2014 and was delighted to see the knitting collection already there including the fabulous  'Please Knit Now' poster galvanising knitters to help the war effort.

15th July update - This fascinating article from atlasobscura tells of the wartime spies who used knitting as a tool for espionage.
Image courtesy of Susan Crawford

Susan Crawford's Vintage Shetland update

Knitting designer, writer and historian Susan Crawford is one of Britain's best known vintage knitting specialists. Sadly her latest much-awaited book, The Vintage Shetland Project, a collection of essays and patterns recreated from Shetland Museum's textile archives, had to be put on hold whilst Crawford was treated for breast cancer.

In her latest email to those who subscribed to her crowdfunding campaign to publish the book she revealed the good news that she is now feeling well enough to complete the project and it should be ready pre-Christmas.  Crawford also reveals that the book contains:
"More than 20 essays ... around 50,000 words all about Shetland knitters and designers, Shetland knitting history and the history of the island, fashion history, knitting history, the bigger picture featured in the first half of the twentieth century and the connections form these to the knitwear featured in the book." 
There will also be 25 patterns. I'm eagerly awaiting my copy and am sure the book will feature in many a vintage knitting fan's Christmas stocking this year.

The Knitter magazine's Land Girl jumper

Mavis image courtesy of The Knitter
When I spotted Penelope Hemingway's Mavis design in issue 112 of The Knitter magazine I immediately broke my 'no more yarn' rule and bought the 100% British yarn, Dovestone DK, from Brityarn taking advantage of their 10% off deal (which has now ended), to knit it with.

The pattern accompanies an article by Hemingway describing the life of Land Girls, young women who joined the Women's Land Army to work on farms during World War 2, and the clothes they were issued with.

Whilst Hemingway used the colour Eggcup to knit her jumper in I chose the dark olive green Dalby, reminiscent of the grass and greenery in the fields the Land Girls worked in.

The design is featured on Ravelry but cannot be bought there. If you can't find issue 112 in a newsagent then it can be purchased directly from the publishers here.




Friday, 7 July 2017

Toft and Baa Ram Ewe New Season Yarn Launches

As I'm writing this I'm cowering inside with all my windows open trying to cool down in the heat. Summer is here in the Midlands, UK - well for a few days at least. Yet whilst I'm carrying on knitting Tin Can Knits' Raindrops jumper in gorgeously silky 4ply, Britain's independent yarn companies and designers are busy working on their Autumn/Winter yarn launches.

Since I started writing this blog two and a half years ago my eyes have been opened as to what can truly be called British yarn. At the beginning I featured Rowan yarns with it being one of the best-known British knitting companies and having its headquarters at the heart of mill country in West Yorkshire. I since learned, thanks to some digging and information from other bloggers such as KnitBritish, that the company is now German-owned and sources its wool from abroad. The company used to sell a great British Sheep Breeds line but it was discontinued. Nowadays I'd still feature on A Woolly Yarn Rowan patterns by British designers but its yarn is a no-no.

Batch 2 image courtesy of Toft
Two new season yarn launches that can proudly call themselves British are Toft's £12 hand-dyed 50g balls - batch 2 has just been released and there will be more to come in the series - and Baa Ram Ewe's Dovestone Natural Chunky.

Toft Batch 2

Toft's DK yarn - spun in the UK from British fleeces - has been given a colourful makeover. Batch 2 is a bright turquoise colour inspired by owner Kerry Lord's gecko crochet pattern. In the last few years the company's focus has moved on from knitting to crochet thanks to the success of Lord's crocheted animals and monsters patterns. If you're not into animals and crochet this can be off-putting, but it doesn't take much leap of the imagination to see the yarn knitted up into a hat or cowl (though you'll probably need two balls for this).

The Toft website offers some great free patterns suitable for the hand-dyed DK yarn that are suitable for beginner and intermediate knitters. I recommend starting off with the YF DK Scarf or the Basic Beanie.

Baa Ram Ewe Dovestone Chunky

Over at Leeds-based Baa Ram Ewe their Autumn/Winter focus is on chunky, natural yarns perfect for warming up in Winter. Dovestone Chunky (a sister product to the store's thoroughly British Dovestone DK and Aran yarns) is launching on 13th July in five shades priced at £14 per 100g hank.

Dovestone Natural Chunky image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe
Dovestone Natural Chunky is spun from 50% Bluefaced Leicester, 25% Wensleydale Longwool and 25% Masham wool.

For pattern support Baa Ram Ewe is publishing Learn to Knit At Home - 12 home furnishing patterns designed by Alison Moreton aimed at new and beginner knitters.

I haven't seen Batch 2 or Dovestone Natural Chunky in the flesh but hope to review them in the future.









Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Wool Whisperer

Have you ever started knitting a project with a yarn that you love only to find out that, well, it's just not quite right? It may be colourful and squishy in skein form but when allocated to a chosen pattern it doesn't seem to work.

Hourglass sweater image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe
Expert knitters I'm sure could explain precisely why this is - too much haze or not enough stitch definition maybe? - but for me it's a feeling, almost like a sixth sense, that can happen when I'm not using the exact yarn a pattern has specified.

Take three beautiful, hand-dyed 4ply skeins bought a few years ago from Eden Cottage Yarns because I adored their pink hue. My first thought was to knit the company's Hut 8 cardigan with it but on the needles it wasn't thrilling me and I decided to knit my garment in a Blacker Yarns special edition yarn instead.

Next, I allocated my three skeins to knit the Hourglass sweater from Baa Ram Ewe's Titus Vintage Collection. I've knitted a jumper, a hat and a cowl using Titus 4ply before: it's a warm, workhouse yarn that comes in covetable shades, but I do find that it's too itchy to wear against the skin. Conversely my Eden Cottage Yarn is soft and silky. However, yet again, when on the needles there was something not quite right about what was emerging. The yarn didn't hold the stitch definition well and after multiple tries to get the sizing right I gave up, meaning to try the pattern again with a different yarn - I may well try Titus if there's nothing else suitable in my stash.

And now? I've long-liked Tin Can Knit's Raindrops jumper pattern.

Raindrops jumper image courtesy of Tin Can Knits
So far the needles seem to be liking my Eden Cottage Yarns 4ply just fine. It suits the pattern in a way that a less silky and more woolly yarn may not. I've been itching to carry on with it and am looking forward to wearing the summery jumper of an evening with smart jeans.

My stash is slowly coming down, following my resolution not to buy any more yarn until I've used up or sold what I already have. I made one exception for a good cause, supporting Baa Baa Brighouse's crowdfunding venture to create a bricks and mortar wool shop. I'll be receiving three hanks of specially-dyed DK yarn through the post. Congratulations to Elaine Jinks-Turner of Baa Baa Brighouse for achieving her goal, but the question of what I'll knit with my three hanks remains to be answered!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Review Of Knitting Magazine's Made In Britain Edition

Image courtesy of Knitting magazine
As this blog celebrates modern British knitting it goes without saying that I was delighted to discover that June 2017's Knitting magazine is a special Made in Britain issue, featuring 23 British knits and lots of information about boutique UK yarn brands.

The magazine costs £5.99 in newsagents, or £6.99 if bought directly from the publisher, and comes with a sock workshop booklet aimed at those new to sock knitting.

At first glance the patterns in the magazine are quite conservative and there's only one - the jumper on the cover - that I'd like to knit. Where the magazine does shine is in its content, with features on and profiles of small niche British wool brands along with interviews with home-grown cutting edge knitting entrepreneurs such as Louisa Harding and Isobel Davies.

I've long found that Knitting and The Knitter magazines have more editorial to get your teeth into than the newbie-knitter orientated titles such as Simply Knitting and Let's Knit. Two monthly features I particularly like in Knitting are the 'Style File' section where a few of the patterns are shown in different colours along with fashion advice on what to where them with, and the review section of latest yarns.

Features-wise this Made in Britain issue contains a guest column from podcaster and blogger Louise Scollay of KnitBritish fame, and a fabulous map of the UK showing businesses that create brilliant British yarns.

One huge fact I learned from the interview with Louisa Harding is that she no longer has anything to do with the yarn and pattern business that bears her name. She now runs Yarntelier, producing lace cashmere yarns and designs to support them.

Back to the patterns - is June really the time to publish cowl, mitts and scarf patterns? There's a cosy-looking Shetland Snuggle Blanket pattern knitted in super chunky yarn that caught my eye until I looked up the price of the yarn and discovered it to be £185. Amongst other patterns are a man's jumper, a tea cosy, and a few women's sweater patterns including one called Seawrack, which to me looks like first-time knitting that's gone wrong, though obviously that's my personal taste and perhaps I'm not very fashion forward!

All in all it's an issue worth buying for anyone who wants to know more about British yarns and it's great to see magazines supporting the British wool industry. One slight bugbear about the plastic sealed packaging of the magazine is that when browsing the newsagents' shelves the potential customer cannot flick through to see if they like the patterns or not before buying. All magazines that provide free gifts tend to do this - can they not print an overview of the magazine's contents on the back page to help the consumer?


Monday, 15 May 2017

Baa Baa Brighouse's Crowdfunding Campaign

Following the success of other knitters' crowdfunding campaigns such as Susan Crawford and Karie Westermann's to publish their next pattern books and Izzy Lane's quest to produce her own cruelty-free wool range, Elaine Jinks-Turner, founder of online yarn shop Baa Baa Brighouse, has started her own. Her dream is to transform the front room of her house into a shop to give Baa Baa Brighouse a bricks and mortar base in West Yorkshire, England.

There's history here - around 60 years ago Junks-Turner's house was a yarn shop and, she says, she still gets people knocking on her front door asking where the wool shop is!

Since founding Baa Baa Brighouse online three years ago Jinks-Turner hasn't taken a salary and has ploughed profits back into building the business. The yarns she sells are different from the usual baby and cheap acrylic offerings that abound lots of yarn shops' shelves: she stocks mainly British brands such as Herdy, West Yorkshire Spinners and Susan Crawford, alongside big names Rowan and Erika Knight and her own hand-dyed range Baa Baa Brew.

Rewards on offer for pledging up to certain amounts include skeins of Baa Baa Brew yarn and the company's Ganny Lock Shawl Knit Kit.

Visit Baa Baa Brighouse's crowdfunding page to see all the rewards on offer.

Image courtesy of Baa Baa Brighouse
In May Baa Baa Brighouse is selling a Shakespeare-themed yarn box for £24 plus P&P containing 100g of DK hand-dyed Baa Baa Brew yarn, a contrasting colour 25g mini DK skein, plus some Shakespeare goodies.

I'm very tempted myself, having missed out on a previous Jane Austen box!

Each month the company produces a themed yarn box inspired by popular culture. Personally I like to see what I'm going to get before I buy but knitters who like a surprise will enjoy the big reveal when the postie delivers their yarn parcel.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Yarn Shop Day 2017 Celebrations

Image courtesy of Let's Knit magazine
Today (May 6th) is Yarn Shop Day in the UK. Organised by Let's Knit magazine, its aim is to promote local yarn and haberdashery stores, encouraging customers both old and new to go through their doors.

Highlights of this year include:

Did your local yarn shop do anything to celebrate? Mine didn't! I do hope though that the day encouraged knitters to buy from bricks and mortar shops rather than the internet - shops can only know what customers want to buy if you tell them and there's nothing like a good squish and feel of a yarn before buying!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Interpretations Volume 4 Review

Cover image courtesy of Pom Pom Press
Pom Pom Quarterly's ad hoc range of pattern book publications is back - this time with Volume 4 in the Interpretations series.

A print and digital copy costs £15.50 + £2.70 P&P directly from Pom Pom.

The 12 patterns, created by friends Jojo Locateli and Veera Valimaki, were inspired by six words: gather, chromatic, magic, fragile, direction and hidden. Amongst the jumpers, cardigans, shawls and cowls there are designs both to keep you warm in chilly Spring or lighter weights for warmer nights.

With me not being a shawl or hap kind of person it was inevitable that my eye would be drawn first to the jumpers and cardigans, including the covetable cover design 'double trouble' (see right). Part of the 'magic' theme it's stylish, warm and woolly plus the pattern looks relatively easy to knit.

Another pattern that looks perfect for Spring through to Summer is 'Radiate', part of the 'chromatic' theme.
It's fun, pink and puts a smile on my face straight away!
'Radiate' image courtesy of Pom Pom Press

For warmer nights the lace weight yarn used for 'The 'Little Bird Pullover', part of the 'fragile' theme,  is soft and delicate. The pattern itself is suitably challenging for intermediate knitters.

'Little Bird Pullover' image courtesy of Pom Pom Press
After a huge project? The 'Winterfolk Coat' from the 'gather' theme looks like a garment that will be worn again and again for years to come. I love its hood and cabling down the front and back.

'Winterfolk Coat' image courtesy of Pom Pom Press
Although, as I've mentioned, shawls and haps aren't my thing, the 'Color Spell Shawl', also part of the magic theme, looks both heavenly and a knitting challenge.

'Color Spell Shawl' image courtesy of Pom Pom Press

The book itself is a a handy A5 size and lives up to the high art and editorial standards of Pom Pom Quarterly. It's a great addition to my collection and to the Pom Pom range.

* Although I received a review copy of this book all views are my own.




Thursday, 30 March 2017

Daughter Of A Shepherd & Samite Yarn Launches

This week lovers of British wool have two more yarns to choose from. 

Image courtesy of Daughter of a Shepherd

Rachel Atkinson's Daughter of  A Shepherd 2016 batch launches today at 8pm BST exclusively on her website. The Hebridean blend yarn is undyed and available both in DK and 4ply/fingering weights. Last year's batch sold old quickly. The wool clip comes from sheep on the Escrick Park Estate where her father shepherds.

The price will be announced when the yarn goes on sale.

Want something more colourful?

Samite image courtesy of Blacker Yarns
Blacker Yarns' new Samite range went on sale last week offering 15 shades inspired by the pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts Movements. The skeins are are 3ply silk blend containing a mixture of 30% Blue Faced Leicester, 40% Shetland, 20% Ahimsa silk and 10% Gotland. Each 100g skein costs £24.60.

Two free patterns on the Blacker Yarns' website support the yarn: a hap and a scarf.

I haven't had chance yet to sample either yarn but hope to do so and review so in the future.

Coming Soon

Look out for my review of Pom Pom Press' Interpretations: Volume 4!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

This Year's Shetland Wool Week Patron & Free Hat Pattern Announced

Who will be this year's Shetland Wool Week patron? That was the question on the lips of many an Edinburgh Yarn Fest visitor. Yesterday (Friday 10th March) their patience was rewarded with Shetland Wool Week's stand revealing that Gudrun Johnston is taking the coveted patron role in 2017, and she has designed the Bousta Beanie hat (see the image below) so that knitters all over the world can join in the fun.

Image courtesy of Shetland Wool Week
The pattern is free to download from the Shetland Wool Week website. Johnston has used an autumnal palette of greys and mustard for her version, but knitters have the challenge to come up with their own colour scheme.

Gudrun Johnston was born in Shetland in the 1970s and is now based in America. Her love for her homeland, however, runs deep and inspires her designs that she publishes under The Shetland Trader name. 

This year is the eight Shetland Wool Week. Details of events and classes will be released soon. 

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day

Image courtesy of International Women's Day
March 8th is International Women's Day, a chance to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievement of women. Whilst there are some great men in the knitting industry (Jared Flood and Kaffe Fassett to name just two) it's predominately one where creative females are at the forefront of development whether it be running businesses, organising charity knits or celebrating traditional skills in their local community.

To mark the day here's my round-up of British women currently leading the way. Apologies if you think I've left out someone you think is important. Please let me know in the comments box below who you would add to the list.

Here are the women in surname order:

Countess Ablaze: expert ultra-colourful yarn dyer Countess Ablaze is about to open new premises in Manchester. Her latest subscription club is The Classics Society.

Rachel Atkinson: the real life daughter of a shepherd used clip from the sheep on the estate her father shepherds to produce her undyed, limited-edition, sustainable yarn skeins. She also regularly contributes patterns to many UK knitting magazines.

Jen Arnall-Culliford: she is a knitting technical expert and editor who writes regular columns for The Knitter magazine demystifying techniques such as steeking and short-row shaping. With her equally talented husband Jim she's due to publish the book A Year of Techniques.

Debbie Bliss: now an MBE, Bliss is an internationally-known name in British knitting. She has published over 35 books, her own knitting magazine and her some of her yarn ranges are British Knitting Award winners.

Verity Britton: she founded Leeds-based yarn shop baaramewe in 2009. Since then the business has launched its own-brand British wool ranges and has championed Yorkshire wool.

Susan Crawford: vintage designer and knitting historian whose Vintage Shetland Project book is eagerly awaited this year. Crawford's honest blog posts detailing her cancer diagnosis and treatment in the past year have inspired and informed many readers.

Kate Davies: with her own yarn Buachaille yarn range, numerous pattern books and an award for UK microbusiness of the year under her belt, Scottish-based Davies is going from strength to strength.

Isla Davison: back in 2015 Davison launched Brityarn, a website with the ethos to only sell British patterns, wool and knitting accessories. It's the first port of call for knitters who want to be sure the yarn they pick is British.

Di Gilpin: her knitwear design business employs 90 home-based knitters across Scotland. She also sells her own range of 100% Scottish lambswool.

Kate Heppell: she has edited Knit Now magazine since it launched in October 2011. The magazine is an entry and intermediate-level publication, which encourages both new and established designers to submit their patterns.

Ann Kingstone: based in Yorkshire, designer Kingstone has written many a pattern book inspired by her surroundings and is an expert on stranded knits.

Kerry Lord: Lord founded and runs Toft Alpaca in Warwickshire, which produces its own sumptuous yarns, knitting and crochet patterns, and quarterly magazine. She is probably best-known for her Edward's Menagerie book range.

Louise Scollay: she is the brainchild and editor of the blog and podcast website KnitBritish. Scollay has done much to raise the profile and benefits of British wool in an entertaining fashion. Catch her at Edinburgh Yarn Festival this weekend on 10th and 11th March where she will be running the podcast lounge.

Marie Wallin: formerly Head Designer at Rowan, Wallin now runs workshops, has her own Fairisle Club Knitalong and publishes beautiful hand-knit colourwork designs.

***

If you enjoy reading this blog I'd be grateful if you would follow it and forward the web address to your friends. Are you a British pattern designer and/or yarn producer who would like to let me know about your products? If so please leave your email and/or web address in the comments box below. I'm working on setting up a contact email address for this blog.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Free Wavy Cable Cowl Pattern Using Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran

Image courtesy of Debbie Bliss
I much prefer wearing cowls rather than scarves to keep snug in winter - no loose ends flapping around! Last month I decided I wanted a cozy cowl to co-ordinate with a knitted hat I'd been given.

Debbie Bliss's Falkland Aran in the shade Claret (see left) was a pretty good match for the hat in terms of colour, weight and texture. Each skein is 100g - just right for a cowl.

Next came the process of coming up with an interesting cable pattern, which involved lots of experimentation, pulling out and starting again!

Finally I hit on a relatively simple cable pattern I liked and then decided on what I wanted the vertical length of the cowl to be.  I'd keep knitting until I'd got the width right for me - not too tight round my neck making it difficult to put on, but so baggy that it would lose its warm and cosy properties.

Here's the cowl on the blocking mat:


And here's my finished pattern. The cowl has become a staple for braving the cold and the rain outdoors! Feel free to use this pattern for personal use only. If you do reproduce it then be sure to credit me and add a link to awoollyyarn.co.uk please.

Wavy Cable Cowl

Requires one 100g skein of Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran yarn, two cable needles and a pair of 5mm knitting needles.

Cast on 47 stitches loosely.

Row 1 (right side): P5, K9, p5, K9, p5, K9, P5.

Rows 2 - 8: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Row 9: P5, 9st cable pattern (see below), p5, 9st cable pattern, P5, 9st cable pattern, p5.

9st cable pattern: Slip 3 to cable needle at the back, slip 3 to cable needles at the from, k3, k3 from front cable needle, k3 from back cable needle.

Rows 10 - 16: Knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches.

Repeat Rows 1-16 until you have your desired width. Cast off k-wise on a RS row. Block, then sew the cast on and cast off rows together to form a tube.


Keeping warm feels better when you've knitted the cowl yourself!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Join The Fight To Eradicate Malaria With Tin Can Knits' Heart On My Sleeve

In January I took some time off blogging and was off the grid for a while escaping the UK cold for some Dominican Republic sunshine. The resort my husband and I stayed at sprayed mosquito-killing chemicals twice a day and, because of that, I stupidly was rather lax in applying repellant myself. I came home with lots of itchy bites as a souvenir of my stay that have now scabbed over, resembling chicken pox.

Itchy bites may be rather annoying but thankfully the mosquitos that bit my husband and I do not carry malaria. The World Health Organisation reported that in 2015 an estimated 429,000 died from the disease, which disproportionally affects the the population of Sub-Saharan Africa.

It was with great interest then that, a day after I arrived back in the UK, I received an email from Tin Can Knits (the Canadian/Scottish company) about Heart On My Sleeve, a collaborative knitting book with all the proceeds going to the Against Malaria Foundation.

Tin Can Knits gave me a peek preview of the proofs. There are eight delectable sweaters, suitable for beginner and intermediate knitters, all of which have a heart theme. Like Tin Can Knits' other designs the patterns have sizes ranging from baby to the larger adult.

To whet your appetite, here are the designs:

Wholehearted by Bristol Ivy


This features a large-scale yoke motif the authors describe as 'architectural, yet at the same time subtle and organic'.

Crazyheart by Tanis Lavallee


You choose the colours for the bold and bright geometric yoke!

Hearthstone by Ysolha Teague



A simpler sweater with shoulder cables.

Lionheart by Shannon Cook and Jane Richmond


A fun hoodie with stripes on the hood and wrists.

Brightheart by Romi Hill



A lace yoke combined with split garter cuffs and hem give this sweater a soft and feminine feel.

Heartstring by Jojo Locatelli


I adore the delicate stitching that adorns this jumper - just look at that cute heart on the sleeve!

Tenderheart by Alexa Ludeman


To me this sweater's yoke has a very Scandinavian and Christmassy feel.

Ironheart by Emily Wessell


This final design has 'a boldly textured lace motif, organic and botanical on a garter stitch ground'.

Heart On My Sleeve launched on 14th February. It's available to download at Ravelry for $21.60 and remember that all the profits will be go towards saving lives.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Baa Ram Ewe Goes Vintage With Its Latest Pattern Collection and Yarn Colours

Image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe
Yorkshire wool and vintage patterns are a winning combination for me, therefore I cast aside my current knitting project (a cowl pattern I designed using Debbie Bliss' Falkland Aran - more details soon) as soon as I got my hands on Baa Ram Ewe's newly-launched pattern book and three new shades of Titus DK. Throw in the fact that one of the new shades, a dusky pink, is called 'Heathcliff' and I danced around my bedroom in Kate Bush delight.

Titus is Baa Ram Ewe's own brand 4 ply wool, a 'delicious blend of Wensleydale and Bluefaced Leicester wool, combined with a touch of magical UK Alpaca in homage to philanthropist and Yorkshire mill owner Sir Titus Salt'.  The range has been out for a few years now and in the past I've used it to knit two jumpers, two hats and a cowl. Titus feels soft and squishy, knitting up with good stitch definition and a slight sheen. My skin can feel a little itchy and I wear a long-sleeved t-shirt under my jumpers knitted in the yarn.

Baa Ram Ewe kindly sent me sample balls of the three new Titus shades, each packaged in a tantalising 'pick n mix' stripy pink and white sweet bag. The colours are:

Heathcliff

Image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe

Reminiscent of heather on the West Yorkshire moors, Heathcliff is a merger of dusky pink and lilac: pretty but not girly.

Brass Band

Image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe

Mustard-colour is probably the best way to describe this shade. I'm not sure I'd want to knit a full garment or accessory with 'Brass Band' but it would look stunning combined with other colours as part of a Fair Isle design. 

Rose Window

Image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe
This colour is right up my street: bold and summery, inspired by a stained glass window.

The Titus Vintage Collection

Author Alison Moreton has written seven patterns inspired by designs in Yorkshire knitting company Sirdar's archives. There are four sweaters, a hat, mitts and a cowl that looks similar to my own design I've been working on - great minds obviously think alike!

For me the standout pattern in The Titus Vintage Collection is the 50's style 'Stormy Sunset' jumper.

'Stormy Sunset' image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe

I love its fun colourways and bright yoke. The jumper is knitted in the Titus colours 'Yorkstone', 'Brass Band', 'Rose Window' and 'Viking'. I thought about swapping the ecru Yorkstone for another colour but on second thoughts the shades works well together as they are. 

'Stormy Sunset' is knitted top down. Not being blessed with a big bust and slim waist I'll forego the  shaping for a more sloppy Joe feel.

My next choice is the offset rib sweater 'Contemplation'. It's knitted in the round from the bottom up.

'Contemplation' image courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe

The only changes I'd make to fit my shape are to shorten the body and start the neckline higher up for modesty purposes!

Here are the rest of the patterns in the book (all images courtesy of Baa Ram Ewe):

Scarborough Spa



Hourglass



Stormy Sunset Hat



Contemplation Mitts



And Scarborough Spa Cowl



The Titus Vintage Collection is a printed pattern book and costs £12.95 from Baa Ram Ewe. Each 100g skein of Titus retails for £16.

'Rose Window', 'Heathcliff' and 'Brass Band' are also available in the Dovestone DK range at £15 per skein.
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