Friday 23 January 2015

Sea Dragon

Yarn: Ullcentrum 2ply Gradient in Blue-Green-Purple (2 hanks)  + Filcolana Gotland Wool in Peacock Blue (50grams if that)
Needles: 4mm

Shamelessly inspired by Linnea's version in the Fall colourway, I was so excited to knit this to show off Ullcentrum's beautiful Green-Blue-Purple gradient!
The Sea Dragon is a great, quick knit - I was a bit confused by the short row instructions at first but once you have a few more stitches on the needles it starts making more sense, and gradients are so addictive to knit just want to keep going that little bit further to see the colour change!

I would recommend working 15 wedges - I worked the full 16 of the large version but I really barely had enough yarn. It's a huge shawl anyway so 15 wedges will be plenty :)

Thursday 22 January 2015

In which Mark knits a shawl and I want to steal it

You may remember back in the summer when Mark was shamed into learning to knit. He learnt on a little garter stitch cowl and, as it was the height of summer at the time, went straight for linen for his second project. And today.....he cast it off!

So, very proudly, introducing Mark's first ever shawl!

Pattern: Boneyard by Stephen West (sort of)
Yarn: Midwinter Yarns Lithuanian Linen, Silver Sage and Grey (held double)
Needles: 4mm
Hours of Sci-Fi series watched while knitting: Many

The shawl is so fresh off the needles that it hasn't even been blocked yet, but the nature of linen is such that it barely needs it. It is actually quite wearable as it is - the doubled up linen has a wonderful weight and drape to it and having been painstakingly worked through novice hands, it's already lovely and soft too.
One of the most interesting things about the shawl is seeing the progression of Mark's tension. Linen is famously unforgiving due to it's lack of bounce, in fact, the Knitting for Dummies book that he has advises him to stay away from plant fibres altogether until he learns to control his tension (meh) but it does mean that you can see a distinct difference between the more...uhm...."organically" shaped stitches at the beginning of the work and the nice even tension he developed towards the end.

So next time those kind bearded gentlemen in Brighton ask him what the linen is like to knit with....he'll be able  to tell you!

Monday 19 January 2015

Shows Shows Shows

I appreciate that it can sometimes be tricky, as a customer, to shop for yarn online when  you haven't had a chance to stroke and squish the yarns yourself, especially when they are perhaps slightly more unusual to the market like our yarns are. Therefore I think that we are incredibly lucky to have so many knitting and wool shows here in Britain where you can come and have a feel.....and this year, Midwinter Yarns are going to ALL OF THEM*

*ok, not quite, but not far off

So please find the list of confirmed shows below - there are still a few to come and I will of course update as and when.

20-22nd of February - Unravel, Farnham Maltings

14-15th of March - Edinburgh Yarn Fest

25-26th of April - Wonderwool, Builth Wells

15-16th of May - iKnit Fandango, London

30-31st of May - Proper Woolly Show, Holsworthy, Devon

25-26th of July - Fibre East, Bedfordshire

11-13th of September - Bristol Wool Fair - more details to be announced

We really hope to see you there to show you around our Scandinavian yarns and have a chat about your knitting ideas!

Sunday 11 January 2015

Whoosh - that was Christmas!

Hello all, and while I can still get away with it: a very Happy New Year!

The holiday season has flown by - it felt longer and busier than usual somehow.
We started early with an Advent trip to Luxemburg and the ever magical German Christmas markets, all twinkling lights, sparkling decorations and smell of mulled wine in the air.

And of course Germany, much like Sweden, does a nice line in tea rooms, or konditoreien. We couldn't resist stocking up with little biscuits from this stunning display.

And after a hard day's....uhm....biscuit shopping, we squeezed in a little fika before heading back home.

Gift-knitting was unusually hectic this year, mostly caused by a change in Mark's circumstances, meaning that after 10 years of working evenings and weekends in retail, I suddenly had him at home whenever I was. Which was lovely but made it IMPOSSIBLE to work on his christmas sweater in secret! But after a few early morning's colour work, I got it done just in time, casting off Christmas Eve morning.

Pattern: Grettir by Jared Flood
Yarn: Ullcentrum 3ply Solid Colours

I think it's perfect for him. I took a bit of a risk with a yoke pattern as he's complained about them being too busy and colourful before, but I knew it would suit him so well :) The 3ply knits up as a DK weight, giving a decent substance and warmth to the garment, yet the fabric is surprisingly light.
The Grettir pattern is very well written too, detailing every step and with nice, easy to read charts. It also has some clever short row shaping to give the sweater a distinct front and back and therefore a better fit.

Then came an ever increasing number of raggsocks. Every time I finished a pair, I seemed to think of someone else who could benefit from them!

Yarn: Raggsock Yarn
Pattern: Midwinter yarns own - free with yarn

I also made my father-in-law-to-be a pair of snug-fitting mitts - he struggles with arthritis and I had some natural, undyed wool left from Mark's sweater that I thought might help keep the drafts away.

Yarn: Ullcentrum 3ply
Pattern: Morristown Mitts - free on Ravelry

So I guess in the end I did get more knitting done than I thought over the holidays. It all went by in such a blur with pre-Christmas, our knitters Knitmas party, real Christmas, my birthday, New Years AND Christmas nr 2 that I felt like I spent it all either in the kitchen or on the M4 and didn't watch a single Julie Andrews film in the end, but it did give me time to think and get inspired for the knitting year ahead - and this one promises to be busy!