Category Archives: Knitting

The Wool Kitchen and Miss Winkle

I’m convinced I’ve created a perfect pairing of yarn and shawl pattern…

Miss Winkle
Miss Winkle is the loopy edged pattern by Martina Behm that was inspired by The Big Bang Theory and Quantum Mechanics. I kid you not! I enjoy reading Martina’s explanation of her patterns and her unusual sources of inspiration turned into knitwear.

Wool Kitchen
Although extremely effective, the shawl is pretty easy to knit. Martina has two helpful video tutorials covering twisting the loop and crossing two stitches. Other than that it’s knit, knit, knit till the yarn runs out. Then the fun really starts by blocking with a rod through the loops to get them even, round and 3D. The finished shawl is so much fun, it attracted as much attention while I was knitting it as it has afterwards. And I was so impressed with Martina’s design and pattern instructions that I immediately cast on another pattern of hers (more on that in another blog post).

Ground Control
The Wool Kitchen‘s yarn has been tickling my fancy for quite some time. First I took advantage of an Instagram sample sale acquiring a sunshine yellow super chunky that I used for one of the many hats and some sock yarn in the colour way ‘she’s electric’ that’s yet to be used. I swooned over the first release of Nebula but sadly wasn’t quick enough to purchase before it sold out. So when the next update was announced ahead of time I set the evening aside for some elbows out, must not miss out online shopping to make sure I wasn’t disappointed a second time. What do you know both Nebula and Ground Control made it into my virtual shopping basket and arrived through my real-life letter box a few days later!

This colour way is Ground Control, a blue-grey with neon orange flashes. It goes very well with my latest dress! A lovely mix of BFL and bamboo makes The Wool Kitchen’s sock yarn too good for hiding in shoes (in my opinion)! 

Miss Winkle

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Storm Waterfall

Only I could knit a super chunky jacket during a heatwave but now that the weather is super chilly, I’m having the last laugh!

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The Waterfall Jacket by Debbie Bliss is knit in 5 separate pieces then seamed together. Dropped shoulders mean that the sleeves are straight, no faffing with decreases. The stitch pattern oozes texture and makes for a thick bouncy fabric.

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The pattern is designed to be knit with Debbie Bliss’ Roma but I’ve been exploring British yarns this year so I took some time exploring other super chunky wools. There aren’t many British wool yarns in super chunky weight. I made a little planning table to help me pick.

Name Stitch Gauge Ball Length (m) No. Required Cost per ball Total cost Colourways
Roma 9 and 10 80 10 6.74 67.4
Laxtons Super Chunky BFL unknown unknown 100g 2×5 £32.90 for 5 65.8 Undyed
Big Brit 9 and 12 67 12 5.95 71.4 Natural Grey
Erica Knight Maxi Wool 8 and 12 80 10 6.71 67.1 Storm or milk chocolate

I opted for Maxi Wool but would happily knit with the others for future projects.

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The end result is extremely warm, cosy and goes with everything. It’s a great alternative to a coat on dry but freezing cold days. I’m pleased with how it turned out.

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Hats for Everyone

Right back at the beginning of the year, my Mum asked me to knit her a hat with any leftover purple yarn from my Newale cardigan. I don’t remember exactly when knitting one hat turned into knitting everyone a hat but around September I started what has become known as the Christmas Hat Project.

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Recently, there has been much talk among knitters (and sewers and other crafters too) about selfless making, even taking it as far as to label someone ‘knit-worthy’. I’ve enjoyed ‘selfless’ knitting and I’ve even found it surprisingly selfish on some levels. Some hats required me to learn new techniques which boosted my knitting skills. One hat was a huge challenge and a steep learning curve for me, I almost didn’t think it’d be good enough to give as a gift. Another hat was a test knit for a now released pattern. I hadn’t been a test knitter before (maybe I won’t be invited to again!) but I enjoyed the opportunity. Most of all, I’ve bought, knit and played with lots of different (mostly British) yarns that I otherwise wouldn’t have got the chance to do and used up some yarns from my stash too.

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I am under no illusion. Not all the hats. would be gratefully received… neither would shop-bought gifts. Some hats were requested, some weren’t the recipients having no idea what their Christmas present was until it was opened. Some hats won’t be worn, some will end up in a charity shop. I’m ok with all of those things. I don’t want to knit a hat any time soon but I’m not regretting the Christmas Hat Project.

Here are the hats…

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Pattern: The Easy Ombre Slouch
Yarn: Brigantia Luxury DK (8526), Wendy Ramsdale (Malham)
Modifications: Slouch removed.
Notable because: This is the hat that started the whole project

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Pattern: Single rib, no pattern required.
Yarn: Erika Knight Maxi Wool (Storm)
Modifications: Bound off fast, the yarn was running out!

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Pattern: His or Hers Bobble Hat by Anna Wilkinson
Yarn: The Wool Kitchen Hand-dyed super chunky
Modifications: None
Notable because: It’s the happiest colour and the hardest to photograph

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Pattern: The Easy Ombre Slouch
Yarn: Wendy Ramsdale (Malton and Malham)
Modifications: No ombre pattern just 1 in 4 stitches on alternating rows
Notable because: The floats are so pretty it’s worth wearing inside out.

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Pattern: Latu by Meiju Knits
Yarn: Wendy Ramsdale (Bedale)
Modifications: None
Notable because: I forgot to take a finished photograph and had to screen shot this from a video I took of all the hats for Instagram.

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Pattern: Bankhead by Susie Gourlay
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners BFL Printed DK (Owl)
Modifications: None
Notable because: First time knitting WYS yarn and I want more

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Pattern: Hurricane
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran Fusions (Grey Mix)
Modifications: None
Notable because: Simple but effective hat pattern, I secretly wanted to keep this one for myself

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Pattern: No pattern, I just went for it
Yarn: Blacker Yarns Classic DK (Forest Green)
Modifications: Complete free-style
Notable because: I lined it with fleece

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Pattern: Hemisphere
Yarn: Blacker Yarns Classic DK (Pale Green), Blacker Yarns Classic Aran (Mid Blue), Malibrigo Sock Yarn (Playa)
Modifications: Some coastal drift but all countries accounted for.
Notable because: Difficulty rating off the scale; double knitting, non-repeating pattern, long-tail tubular cast on. However, holding a solid and variegated yarn together was a minor stroke of genius.

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Pattern: Hurricane
Yarn: West Yorkshire Spinners Aire Valley Aran Fusions (Grey Mix), Wendy Ramsdale (Hawes)
Modifications: Knit all stitches after ribbing
Notable because: Super manly

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Pattern: Washed Ashore by Lesley Anne Robinson
Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted (Tortuga)
Modifications: None
Notable because: Test knit the pattern

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Newale

As I work towards sorting my Ravelry favourites into bundles, I noticed that I have quite a few of Cecily Glowik MacDonald‘s designs in there. Earlier this year I knitted up Newale having received the yarn (more about that later) for Christmas. Since September I’ve been knitting Christmas presents for family and friends but my next selfish knitting project is always in the planning phase. Might it be another Cecily design or maybe something else from my (almost) organised favourites?

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The Newale pattern instructions were easy to follow and I enjoyed working the pockets flat with the rest of the cardigan. Knitting is still new enough to me that I learn something new about construction with each project. I did ask for some advice from the knitting group I attend in how to stitch the pocket sides but it turned out I was overthinking it… ‘just sew it down’ was a unanimous decision from around the table and we moved onto deeper conversations.

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I knitted half of one sleeve and decided it was going to be way too tight. A bit of stitch gauge/upper arm circumference maths indicated that I needed an extra 20 stitches to what the pattern recommended. I worried that this would be a visible fudge but I seem to have gotten away with it. Now that it’s finished I’d say I could have gone up a size for the whole cardigan, it’s a touch too small even after some firm but fair blocking. I find fit so much more difficult for knitting than sewing.

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I’ve been making a conscious effort to use British yarn this year, in fact, to my knowledge I have only purchased British yarn and any knitting project completed this year with yarn from elsewhere was already in my stash. I intended to use  Brigantia Luxury Yarn Double Knit for another pattern but I couldn’t get the required gauge and drape with it so I had to switch pattern. Purchased from Ginger Twist Studio it is described as perfect for jumpers and it really is a very good jumper yarn.

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It’s pure wool spun in Yorkshire and, although not obvious from their website, is a product of Brigantia Needlework. It’s lovely to work with, smooth and warm, maybe a little prickle but far from itchy. The purple colour (8526) is so vibrant and rich. It’s not a colour I’d normally choose but it goes well with a few other things (including the Ella Top in these photographs) in my wardrobe so has been worn a few times since the weather got chilly. There are a whole range of other colours in both the DK and aran weights but hands off the claret and chartreuse, I want those for myself!

Get Ready for Spring

When you embark on a long-term project you’re never quite sure if it’ll be finished at a seasonally appropriate time or not. Luckily this one has arrived in time for Spring.

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The pattern is Ready for Spring by Yellowcosmo – when I found the pattern on Ravelry, I added a number of other Yellowcosmo patterns to my favourites list for future. Her designs are just my thing (a bit of asymmetry, geometric lines or a quirky feature without being too eccentric).

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I’m normally heavily influenced by the colours used by the pattern designer but I actually already had this yarn in my stash (Tosh Merino Light in Button Jar Blue). It was intended for a different project but I didn’t like the drape with the correct gauge so I had to find a new pattern for this yarn. I’m pleased with Ready for Spring pattern – it’s a good match.

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There are three sections of lace plus some ribbing in the back. It was my first time with a lacy pattern and it took a bit of getting used to. I found myself making plenty of mistakes and having to go back to fix them. My favourite lace pattern is the one across the bust. I’d like to lift this from the pattern and use it on something else.

Ready for Spring 2

My only change was to add just a little shaping for waist and arched back – sneaking in some decreases evenly over the side and back. I’m two dress sizes smaller at my waist than hips so even with the open style I’d have ended up with a ripple of sway back fabric without this.

Ready for Spring 1

Do you have any tips for me… specifically blocking a cowl collar. Although I’d like to upgrade from blocking on a towel to a foam mat, I’m not convinced that’s why the cowl collar didn’t block well. It couldn’t work out a good way to pin for blocking and consequently it dried with ripples. Nevertheless, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to try some other blocking methods on the collar because I’m going to be wearing this a lot.

Yorkshire Yarn Excitement and Two Hats

After knitting socks without a hint of second sock syndrome, I appear to have acquired a compulsion to knit in pairs. Although not matching, these hats seemed a logical double project.

When a wool band reads “Born, Bred and Made in Yorkshire” and you are born, bred and made in Yorkshire, you know immediately you have to buy the yarn… in three different colours. I don’t think I’ve been as excited or impulsive about a yarn before. Serious warm fuzzy feelings inside and out.

Ramsdale

Ramsdale is Yorkshire wool (all 100% of it) from Masham fleece. Not only that but each of the 12 shades are named after Yorkshire market towns or villages. I bought two red, one navy and one neutral. Also known as Settle (amazing walking), Hawes (highest market town in England, I don’t even know why I remember that fact) and Malham (location of too many Geography school trips but I can still appreciate  it’s natural beauty).

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As if hailing from North Yorkshire wasn’t enough, this yarn has great qualities… good squish, soft without pilling, not scratchy and nice to knit with.

Lateu Hat

The hats; ombre and Latu. Ombre because I was itching to try stranded colour work without committing too much (I’m not ready for a full on Fair Isle Jumper project yet) and Latu because I really liked the neat cable pattern. Both are free patterns – I’m always terribly grateful that knitters share these patterns so generously on Ravelry.

Lateu Wrist Warmers and Hat

I had did use some of the second ball of red making the hat but there was plenty left for a pair of wristwarmers. I fudged the cable pattern of Latu onto a gauge adjusted version of Anna Wilkinson’s wristwarmer pattern. These are knit flat and seamed afterwards so I knit with both ends of the yarn at the same time until I had just enough left to cast off and seam – I hate waste!

Ombre Hat a

Socks

Last week: “No second sock syndrome here” was the phrase a very accomplished knitter proclaimed when I revealed at my first meeting of a local knitting group that I was indeed making my first pair of socks and the one on my needles was the second sock.

Let’s rewind to the summer when I received a wonderful birthday present of two Craftsy Classes. Socks have been on my knitting techniques list for sometime. On one hand the shear amount of choice is overwhelming: construction, toe-up, cuff-down, DPNs, circulars, two at a time, yarn choices, stitch decisions. On the other hand, with knitting, I have found it is best to jump right in, no new technique is too challenging when the worst case scenario is ripping out to start again.

Donna Druchunas’ Craftsy Class “Knit Original Toe-Up Socks” seemed pitched at about my level: Fearless sock beginner not afraid of a steep learning banana. The class seemed to have longevity that would take me from knitting my first pair to designing my own. The course materials aren’t well advertised but do add value to the cost of the class – three multi-sized sock patterns, some additional stitch patterns and a planning worksheet.

Seaweed Full Sock

In the short-term, chapters on sock anatomy, calculating for a good fit and fully demonstrated toes and heels gave me enough information to knit my pair of socks. That fit. Successfully.

Seaweed Socks

Now that my first pair is complete, I can return to the class to tackle another of the 3 toe or 3 heel options or maybe use the bonus section on knitting two socks at a time. I’m not quite ready for designing yet but altering an existing sock pattern seems do-able and Donna gave some great tips along the way for knitting for gifts if you don’t have the recipient’s measurements.

Enough of me waxing lyrical about the Craftsy class, lets talk about the pattern. The Seaweed sock pattern looks, to me, like the bobbly dark green seaweed that I remember washing up on UK beaches when I was a kid.

Seaweed Sock Pattern

As stitch patterns go, it’s not too complicated to knit (although I didn’t manage to memorise it, I had to keep the chart with me at all times) yet very visually effective. I see it as a unisex pattern – some of the patterns that incorporate lace seem a bit girly to me.

Seaweed Sock Toe

This sock pattern has a short row toe and heel which are fairly similar to knit so are a good way to consolidate learning.

Seaweed Sock Heel

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in playa which I purchased from Tangled Yarn. The fact that the pattern and colourway were sea themed amused me. It is incredibly difficult to photograph but is predominantly dark green and navy with highlights of gold, grey and grey-greens.

Seaweed Socks Steps

The new-to-me knitting group did warn me that sock knitting was addictive. I have hats in the pipeline but do see more socks in my knitting future.