I'm speeding along with this, having nearly finished the body already.
I began, very conscientiously with a tension square! My tension is slightly small but the measurements in the pattern have been done over a blocked sample. While I'm conscientious, I'm not that conscientious so am slightly winging it here! The second picture shows the first few rows. It begins at the back neck with a provisional cast on which you can just see as orange thread. The back is then knitted down to the bottom of the armhole. As you can see I am striping turquoise and pale turquoise with some hot pink. The pink will repeat on the sleeves. I then picked up stitches from the shoulder and did a shoulder saddle (the pink bit). The fronts are then continued from the saddle strap. it looks very curious but does work out in the end. The cardigan fronts are shaped and then when the fronts are down to the bottom of the armholes, the whole thing is joined and then knitted as one piece. There is a small amount of side shaping but very little to distract from stocking stitch. I'm about to do the last stripe and then the rib before casting off and starting the sleeves which are knitted top-down too.
The pattern has some useful tips on stripe placement and how to make the jumper suit any figure and so far has been very straightforward. For anyone wanting to try top-down knitting, it's a good easy piece to start on.
Next instalment due next week when I have started picking up the sleeves.
We've been working hard to get our new crafting space ready for our Autumn workshops and while we are not quite on course we are getting there. Greg has almost finished the kitchen space and he and Peter have been busy clearing stuff out to be recycled or got rid of. We will soon be able to begin on the more cosmetic aspects of the transformation like lights and painting and then getting settled in. As you can see from the pictures, we are already setting in in the kitchen although if we put anything down the sink it won't make it to a drain!
If you loved Jane Crowfoot's Persian Tiles crochet blanket then you'll love this re-imagination of it by Lucia Dunn. Instead of the reds, blues and oranges of Persian Tiles, Stylecraft blogstar, Lucia has created a multicolour version with yellows, blues, pinks and oranges and re-named it Eastern Jewels. At the moment the new colourway is only available as a kit with the pattern and conversion chart and retails price of £35.00.
Having finished the Katia shawl, I need another project so Ruth and I spent this morning planning a yarn and pattern kit.. The pattern we have come up with is 'Funky Grandpa' from La Maison Rililie which we found on Ravelry. It's a fairly relaxed, striped 4-ply cardigan. I'm knitting it in Drops Alpaca in Dark Turquoise, Pale Turquoise and Hot Pink and I'll blog about my progress on here so keep an eye out.
It's a lovely cardigan with interesting design features and techniques so we have made up packs in different colours which are on offer in the shop. The packs would normally retail at £47.00 including the pattern and we are selling them at £37.00 but as there are only four packs so you'll need to be quick to get one!
Now to go home and knit a tension square!
This has been a really relaxing, easy knit. The yarn is very soft and because it is worked in garter stitch on fairly large needles, it knits up quickly. The colour changes are interesting with the yellow orange range contrasting quite vividly while the russets ombre into one another more smoothly. This isn't as obvious in the other colourways so perhaps it is just more difficult to phase through the colours when going from yellow to dark red/russet. the picture whow where the colours transition. A successful knit.
Most of us prefer the knitting and crocheting to the sewing up so like many boring tasks we put it to one side. Stop prevaricating though and join our Sew Up Saturdays -- they're proving popular so we have booked in another two dates for Autumn.
Just bring your UFOs (unfinished objects) along to one of our sessions for expert advice, motivation, tea and cake and a (small) prize for every completed item!
Our next sessions will be on 28 October and 9 December, just in time to help you finish off your Christmas projects.
Cost £3 including refreshments
I've recently been blogging about all of our new yarns and one which has really caught my eye is Katia's Ombre. I just love the different colours in the packs and have fallen particularly hard for the red through to yellow colourway. It can be hard for customers to visualise what yarns will look and feel like when made up so I'm knitting up the free pattern which comes with the pack.
Katia Ombre pack of six colours
First of all, when the yarn is out of the pack it is beautifully soft and squishy. It is 100% extrafine merino and is wonderfully smooth with no short fibres to spring out and itch my neck when I wear the shawl. This also means that the yarn has amazing stitch definition so can be unforgiving if you split the yarn or let your tension slip a bit. Taking the time to knit this carefully though will make the result well worth the extra effort.
The pattern is laid out by language so I'm following the bit with the American flag above it (denoting English) which begins at the top of the centre column. As with most non-British patterns instructions are quite pared down. I've chosen colourway 9 for which the pattern suggests beginning with the lightest colour and ending with the darkest in the stripe sequence.
Surprisingly for a 4-ply yarn, the pattern suggests 5.5 mm needles so it will have quite a loose lofty feel to it. This does mean however that I can use my Hiya Hiya large set of needles which is just as well as I already have all the cables for my small set in use. I'm using interchangeable circulars because I like them, not because you have to use circulars for the pattern, although by the end of the increasing there will be a lot of stitches so straight needles might be a bit short to use comfortably.
As the shawl is in garter stitch, it is a good idea to slip the first stitch of each row to give a neater edge. It's also helpful to pin a marker onto the right side of the work as it's easy to get mixed up -- not a problem if knitting a square but a nuisance for shaped items. Once the shaping is established there is no need for the marker but I am moving it up as I go along as a reminder.
There are no instructions on which shaping method to use so I am doing lifted increases. I've pictured the technique below. I'm knitting into the back of the increase stitch to give a left leaning increase which looks neater.
When I need to change colour yarns, I'll always add the new yarn on at the beginning of a right side row as this will be neater and will give a better finish.
So far, I'm really pleased with this shawl. It is soft, smooth and easy to knit which is a relief after some of the intricate fairisles and lace that I've been knitting lately. I'll blog more pictures as I go along and the finished project will be featured in a window display soon with more of our Autumn yarns.
New seasons are always really exciting as they bring the excitement of new deliveries and new yarns. So far we have had new lines in from West Yorkshire Spinners and Katia and we are will soon be receiving new Filanda too.
West Yorkshire Spinners have brought out a beautiful new yarn called The Croft. Spun from Shetland wool into an aran weight yarn the heathery tweed colourways are redolant of Shetland landscapes. Pattern support comes in a book of patterns featuring garments and accessories for men and women. Retailing at £8.50/100g skein, The Croft is amazing value for a British speciality yarn and Ruth and I would both be wearing Croft jumpers already if we didn't have to save it for our customers to buy!
The first of our new colours and ranges have also arrived in from Katia. Degrade is a heavy 4-ply sock yarn in 75% wool/25% polyamide which comes in 150g cakes selling at £12.95. Degrade is a one colour yarn which changes saturation as it stripes up through the socks. It is ideal for warm winter socks but would also be wonderful for a one cake project like a shawl or use more and make a garment. Ombre is a yarn pack from Katia which contains six 25g balls of merino 4-ply plus a simple shawl pattern. Ombre retails at £19.95/pack including the pattern and would make a wonderful present for a yarny friend or relation. Pattern support as always with Katia is available through their website with free and paid for downloadable patterns.
We often have discussions in the shop about the comparative benefits of natural and synthetic fibres. Whether we're talking about the financial cost, the long term performance of the yarn (washability, warmth, lifetime etc.), the environmental and ethical implications (unsustainable oil-based synthetics versus large scale sheep farming) or just the potential itchiness, there's a lot of factors to consider.
There's been two popular news stories this week which have brought all this into focus for me. Both make interesting reading for us fibre users and have made me think a bit harder about my yarn choices.
I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.
The first article is about the presence of plastic microfibres in our drinking water - the source of the fibres and their effect on us (if any) are not yet clear. Synthetic materials used in clothing and home furnishings are suggested as a likely source.
The other is a piece from Prince Charles (patron of the Campaign for Wool) extolling the virtues of wool in many applications.
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Here we will share our experiences of running a local yarn shop in South Wales.