Wednesday 22 July 2015

Support Susan Crawford's Vintage Shetland Project

Vintage knitwear designer and A Woolly Yarn favourite, Susan Crawford, has turned to crowdfunding to publish her latest pattern book based on designs in Shetland Museum's archive.

Image courtesy of Susan Crawford
The book is the culmination of two years of painstaking research in the archives studying knitwear from the past hundred years. Susan's husband Gavin created a computer programme to enable her to create modern knitting patterns for the garments.

Says Susan:
"I chose 25 pieces, recording their construction stitch for stitch then recreated them for the Vintage Shetland Project. These pieces - all with their own unique story to tell - have been developed into comprehensive multi-sized knitting patterns, complete with instructions, technical advice and illustrated with colour photography shot on Shetland."
Each pattern is accompanied by an essay telling the story of the hand-knit item, which gives an insight into Shetland's rich textile traditions.

Go to Pubslush to support Susan in publishing the book. There are various packages available both for knitters and non-knitters, starting from £5. Favourites include signed copies of the book when published, taking tea with Susan during Shetland Wool Week, or the book plus all the yarn needed to knit the gorgeous Roses are Red cardigan, one of the 25 patterns.

I confess that I've treated myself to day at Susan's farm, looking at all the sample garments from the book and receiving advice on fair isle knitting from her. Now that's something to look forward to.

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Knitting On BBC Radio 4

Image courtesy of the BBC
I really enjoy listening to the radio whilst I'm knitting and BBC Radio 4 of mine is a favourite for its news programmes, comedies, dramas and documentaries. I'm a bit late to the party but was delighted to find on the BBC's Radio Player, which allows licence fee holders to listen again to programmes, a page dedicated to programmes about knitting.

From the serious, looking at knitting during the Libyan war; to the interesting, finding out what Kaffe Fassett's Desert Island Discs are; and then to the pure fun of Christmas jumper fashion, this collection will while away many happy knitting hours.

There's even a pattern to knit the Woman's Hour tea cosy! Tongue in cheek I hope ...

Image courtesy of
In a previous post I discussed yarn choices for the Scollay knit-along. I decided on a wonderfully bright pink Fyberspates yarn but when I test knitted with it I realised that it was too soft and scrumptious to retain the cardigan's shape. I'll use this yarn later in the year to knit a jumper pattern from Artesano that I have my eye on. That will be a lovely, squishy, summer cover up.

To replace the Fyberspates yarn I bought Blacker West Country Tweed DK, which is a British bred and spun wool from Brityarn. It's sturdier than the Fyberspates, if not as soft, and I adore the little flecks of other colours in my chosen purple shade.

The cast on party was last Friday and, once again, I'm a bit late to the party (I'm sensing a theme here!) but I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. To my surprise Brityarn doesn't sell needles and I had to buy two circular needles in sizes I don't already own from another internet retailer.  Once they've arrived in the post, which should be tomorrow, I'll be listening to the BBC Radio 4 knitting programmes on my laptop and casting on my Scollay.

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Review Of Simple Knits By Jane Ellison

Image courtesy of Purl&Jane
The scenic town of Skipton in North Yorkshire is home to the Purl&Jane knitting emporium, owned by entrepreneur and designer Jane Ellison.

In her career she has published over 70 books and her most recent is an accessible collection of eight cardigans and sweaters for women designed to be knitted in the Irish yarn Kilcarra Tweed from Knoll Yarns.

Ellison's patterns range from easy to the more challenging, making the book ideal for knitters of varying abilities. The sweaters and cardigans are all in a casual style to keep you toasty on an Autumn day: think baggy and long, like being wrapped in a knitted hug.

Whilst I haven't felt or knitted with Kilkarra Tweed personally, it does sound like a warm, functional, yet pretty yarn. Rebecca Shaw from Knoll Yarns describes it like this:
"The Kilcarra Tweed combines all the elements that I love in yarn: a rich heritage, beautiful shades that look like the yarn has drunk up all the intense hues of the colour with hidden flecks of other colours, that make it look as though it has been sprinkled with a rainbow and a pure new wool that holds the stitches firmly to create beautiful stitch patterns."

Kilkarra Tweed comes in 11 different shades, most being bright and fun. And so to the patterns! All photographs are courtesy of Jane Ellison.









Being short and not having a lock neck, some of the designs would engulf me. I do love the yarn colours, however, and I'm keen on knitting a shorter version of Karreck in pink - just the job to brighten up the dull Winter months.

A hard copy of Simple Knits sells from £11.95 and is available, along with Kilcarra Tweed, from Purl&Jane in store and online. The design photographs are viewable online at Ravelry to whet your appetite. 
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