Friday 26 May 2017

New Pattern: Tangence

It's here!  This lace top has been in the making for many moons now, and today is the big one - out into the wild it goes!

Though winter is edging it's way into my life here in New Zealand at the moment, I'm thoroughly enjoying all your lovely sunny photos from Scotland.  Now seemed the right time for the summer top to come out to play.  Saying that - it was still warm enough here this week to model a lace top!

Tangence is part garter, part lace.  Worked from the back, over the shoulders and down the front this top is interesting and relatively quick to knit. Seamed with a three needle bind off and finished with applied i-cord, there are also a few very satisfying finishing touches which introduce ways to customise your own creation. 

Yarn is merino/silk from The Wool Kitchen, which was wonderful to work with - it's shiny and drapey, and the Punch Drunk colour way is just... amazingly orange.  

Head over to Ravelry for the pattern and more details, and hit The Wool Kitchen for your yarn!

Until the end of 27th May, you can use code 'Orange' on Ravelry for 50% off :)



Tuesday 24 January 2017

On the Needles: Ginger Twist Yak and Circled #2 by Woolly Wormhead

on the needles

Today my knitting lovely for several reasons.  First, and most excitingly, it means I've finished the knitting for my upcoming project with the wonderful Clare Devine.  Patterns are in the process of being sent to an inspirational tech editor for checking, and knits are off to a magnificent lady who is going to take beautiful photos back in the UK.  Second, I'm working with both a new yarn and a new (to me) pattern designer.

Both yarn from Ginger Twist Studio, and patterns from Woollywormhead have been around for a wee while, but I've just not had the chance to indulge!  Not that I haven't worked with yarn from Jess before (I have, lots), but this particular yak blend has been sitting atop my pile of favourite yarns since it arrived in a mystery parcel from The Golden Skein more than a year ago now.

on the needles
Inspiration photo for the yarn!

The yarn is 'yakety yak', a blend of 60% Merino, 20% silk, 20% yak.  It's soft but with a relatively high twist feels relatively durable too, so will be ideal for this project - a hat for me!

Now, I'm not saying it's entirely unusual, but I certainly don't manage the time to fit in all the knitting for all the things I'd like to wear!  (And none of this 'selfish' knitting nonsense, it's not selfish if it's your own hobby.  I don't need to have this rant, Jo over @shinybees has already got that covered for me over here).

The pattern is new - 'Circled #2', by WoollyWormhead.  It has very interesting construction, which is what initially drew me to the pattern!  It uses a couple of techniques I tend not to use very often, so it was a good prompt.  Woolly has created several very useful short videos with grafting techniques too, so it'll be interesting to try these out at the end of the project - pain stockinette or garter are my usual.

The first photo in the post is my hat about 1/5th of the way through.  It's all knitted flat with short rows for shaping, then seamed up and tidied together at the end.  So far, it's easy with enough interest to keep me entertained, so will let you know how it goes!

on the needles

On my search for better provisional cast on technique, I found a great tutorial for the one-step provisional cast on too.

What are you making currently?  Do you have any new skills you've learned recently?

Thursday 19 January 2017

Wool Tribe 2017 & Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Traquair Hat & Mittens, by Amanda B Collins @OwlPrintPanda

It's another lovely week in New Zealand, and there's some very exciting news from home in Scotland too! Today pre-orders are live for Wool Tribe, the Edinburgh Yarn Festival guide.  Whether you're going to the festival or not, there are some truly beautiful patterns in this little book, which yours truly was lucky enough to be a part of!

My pattern is Traquair, which is a hat and mitten set.  The yarn is from SkeinQueen, a very firm favourite.  (I'd highly recommend her club, if you're looking for some very smooshy yarn deliveries!  Each months yarn is based on a book, which does add a nice depth to the club.  I might have had a medium sized purchasing accident in the SQ shop update earlier...)

Traquair Hat & Mittens, by Amanda B Collins @OwlPrintPanda

Traquair Hat & Mittens, by Amanda B Collins @OwlPrintPanda

All the patterns can be viewed on the Edinburgh Yarn Festival website, where there's lots more information about the festival too.  Unfortunately I won't be able to make the festival in Edinburgh this year, but I'm very much looking forward to catching up with everyone who goes!

You can already hop over to the Wool Tribe Ravelry page to get liking and queuing your favourites, all lined up and ready for knitting!

Are you going to EYF?  Have you planned projects to wear at the festival?!


Friday 6 January 2017

Exploration, & Radio Silence

'Best of Yarn' Compilation

I can make as many plans and lists as I like, but I certainly didn't think there would come a point where I hadn't managed to blog for almost a year.  A year!  It certainly doesn't feel like so much time has passed, or like I've been idle in the interim.

It would be too much to hope to catch up with all the lovely experiences I've had over the past 8 months, but I shall try to give you an overview:  There has been travel, living in campervans and exciting adrenaline activities.  New places, new scenery, new languages and ways of living.  There have been (and are) new people, both those met fleetingly, and those whom I now work with.  People who have taught me to embrace the joys in life, small treasures and simple pleasures, and also the inherent traits of those who I'd like to hope I would not emulate.  New studies, moving onto the next part of my diploma.  New work, settling into a new environment and way of thinking, new colleagues.  Last but not least, exciting knitting projects.

It is this last thought which finally prompted me to return to blogging.  I was listening to Jo (of Shinybees) on her podcast earlier whilst knitting - though we shall save *what* I was knitting for another post, hmm?

Jo talked about organising your stash when moving house, and shared her idea of 'Active Stash Exploration'.  When moving from Scotland in September, I rummaged through my stash.  I organised it, re-organised it, split it into purposeful piles and mixed it up again.  I carefully laid some yarn in storage bags, other skeins were gifted to friends.  I organised and re-organised the stash again.  The photo above is the final take.  My half-a-suitcase of yarn (plus 4 balls and 6 skeins bought on my travels...).

Active Stash Exploration (according to Jo), is the act of going through what you have, and appreciating it.  I feel I happened upon doing this by accident, but didn't think about it at the time - hearing Jo chat really rang bells with me.  I thoroughly enjoyed sorting my stash, and whilst I felt a small regret about having to leave most of it behind, I certainly brought more than enough...  And it's my favourites, it's the ones I have plans for, and the ones I might *actually* knit over the next 12 months or so!!  It's a 'best of stash' compilation, if ever there was one.

I realise all the labels aren't visible, but the pile includes Dye For Yarn silk, Eden Cottage Titus, Baa Ram Ewe Titus, Unicorn Tails from MadelineTosh (gifted to me by the beautiful Lauren @walkyouhome), Rainbow Heirloom, Skein Queen, La Bien Aimee, some glorious yarn from Iona where I went with my mummy before I left Scotland, some handspun, Triskellion, and lots of 'souvenir' yarn from my driving around NZ.

Currently, I'm seaming together something special for a wonderful collaboration with Clare (@knitsharelove).  This wee project is extremely exciting and I can't wait to share it with you!!  For the time being, I'll share this little sneak preview with you :D


 This magnificent shade was created by Helen (@thewoolkitchen), and as far as I understand, she has quite an exciting shop update coming tomorrow with lots of one-of-a-kind skeins!!  Due to moving countries I'm not currently able to indulge, but will definitely be sending someone with a shopping list to her stand at Edinburgh Yarn Festival!

What are you currently knitting?  Have you taken a new approach to your stashing recently?

Friday 29 April 2016

Wuthering: New Pattern

A fair while ago now, I had a reather exciting chat with Helen of The Wool Kitchen (who is amazingly lovely).  The result is this scrumptious cowl, knit with two skeins of one of my favourite semi-solid colourways.  

Wuthering is knit in the round, and travels through several stitch patterns.  Nice and simple!  Back to my original pattern philosophy of 'less complicated than it looks'. 

Wuthering Cowl Amanda B Collins OwlPrintPanda

Apparently the most popular photo from the entire shoot is the outtake which caught me trying to fit bodily into the cowl.  I'd like to argue that I was demonstrating the extreme smooshyness of the cowl/yarn combo, but I was just being ridiculous.

Wuthering Cowl Amanda B Collins OwlPrintPanda

Wuthering Cowl Amanda B Collins OwlPrintPanda 

My patient friend Lauren helped me with the photos above, and I bothered the boy into helping me take some during one of our Scottish castle trips! 

The cowl itself was thought up on one of these trips - inspired by those hardiest of plants who manage to thrive despite the wind and rain on the precipice of mountains, cliff-tops and long-neglected gardens. Delicate yet resilient, these admirable little plants are represented in the ‘rocky’ lace and floral patterns of this cowl.

Wuthering Cowl Amanda B Collins OwlPrintPanda

Wuthering Cowl Amanda B Collins OwlPrintPanda 
Wuthering Cowl Amanda B Collins OwlPrintPanda

Yarn: The Wool Kitchen DK in colourway Wuthering.  2 skeins (400m).
Needles: 5mm (UK)

Find Helen:
Twitter: @thewoolkitchen

Sunday 27 March 2016

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

Once again, Edinburgh Yarn Festival was incredible.

I'll try not to gush too much about all the beautiful, intricate and amazing items I spotted - so, as you read this, just keep a general feeling of yarny awe in the back of your mind to create the best sort of woolly mental atmosphere. 

As with last year, the Edinburgh Yarn Festival was held in the Edinburgh Corn Exchange.  It's a great venue, and was a pleasure to visit again.  

I trundled through from Glasgow in my little yellow car with a few friends, arriving at 09:50 for doors at 10am, and miraculously found a nice wee parking space across the road from the main entrance.  It was so good that Pip had doubts about whether I had parked illegally - I definitely wasn't, but the lack of a ticket on the car when I returned at 5pm confirmed my wondeful parking luck.


First stop - coffee.  The EYF entrance hall is lined with stalls and coffee.  There was some sort of crazy order in which to ask for/buy/pick up coffee so I was rather confused for a while, though blame that on the decaffienated state in which I stared my day.

Now, I entered EYF quite tired and with an idea of what I wanted before I started.  I thought this might save my bank account.  It sort of did and sort of didn't.  My aim was to buy things I can't usually get elsewhere, so let's see if I stuck to that :p

On one hand, I have yarn which I have intended projects for, each with a lovely bag, and the combination of which I adore.  On the other, good intentions do not make anything cheaper.

In the top picture, is two skeins from La Bien Aimee - this was a stall I had wanted to visit because I've never smooshed this yarn before!  As per another promise to myself, I'd only buy a minimum of two skeins which are either the same or matchymatchy - no more one skein 4-ply stashes for me. 

I've yet to decide but these two glorious merino singles 4-ply skeins are destined for a summer top or cowl, I'm sure they'll let me know once they've been knit into swatches.  

And the pouch underneath?  The glorious, herrinbone tweed, pocket of sheer perfection?  It's a little project bag from Woollenflower, whom I adore.  I've been eyeing these little bags and hoping quite a lot for a herringbone one, so when I spied this lying on the table I couldn't help myself.  

 As I say, everything I bought this year appears to be a complete project (bag included).  So second purchase was from Kettle Yarn.  Linda has recently released a new line of yarn named Baskerville, which is 60% exmoor blueface, 25% gotland and 15% silk.  As will all yarns in the collection, quality is guaranteed, and I'll admit I'm very curious about the process of indigo dyeing!  

Linda was lovely, and whilst I was heading to her looking for some Baskerville (because this purchase was planned!!), I also spotted this incredibly cute little forrest cabin pouch, and picked that up too.  

Next, I popped into the Easyknits stall and was caught unawares by some 'Mochoo' - mohair.  Who knew I liked this, because I didnt?!  Though I'll admit, I left this behind initially as I had no plans for it - look how good I was being!

Jess of Ginger Twist Studio, an adorable little yarn shop in Edinburgh, was always a joy to see, as ever.  Her energy is infectious and after several moments squeeing over my favourite yarn (the Splendour 4ply 50/50 silk blend in the Hocus Pocus colourway - have a look at my project page on Rav and you'll soon see what I mean), I ended up with two more skeins of the stuff and a round trip back to Easyknitter to pick up that mohair.  A plan was born - I was going to knit a boxy with 4-ply splendour and lace mohair held together on 5.5mm needles.  It is squeeful and I terrified to admit, but since then (5 days ago), I have finished and am wearing my boxy.  I will devote a separate post to it, as it is amazing.  My wrists hurt. 

I met several amazing people throughout the day, and will no doubt forget to list some, so I won't name you all! 

Bumped into several of my facourite podcasters: Louise of Caithness Craft, Louise of Knit British, Jo of Shinybees to name a few!  I had a lovely long chat to them whilst hosting my little pop-up stall in the podcast lounge, which was lovely. 

Last, but obviously not least, I returned to La Bien Aimee for a cardigan quantity of this yarn...

The dates for EYF 2017 have even already been released!  It'll be the Corn Exchange again, on 10th / 11th of March.

What did you purchase?  Did you miss EYF - what did you do instead??

Sunday 13 March 2016

Blackers New Yarn

As you've probably been able to tell, I've been on a little bit of a swatching binge recently!  This was precipitated, in no small part, by some very lovely yarn samples I was sent by Blacker Yarn.

They have a new yarn coming out shortly - Tamar.

Sue Blacker recently posted on the Blacker blog about this yarn - I do love a yarn with a story!!  Basically, it is named after the Tamar river between Devon & Cornwall (in England).  It's an homage to the watery hills and valleys of the area, the history of the people and their beliefs throughout time.  There's a beautiful fairy tale accompanying this yarn, and I'd highly recommend heading over to the blacker blog for a wee read.

I could ramble on about this yarn for ages, because it's great, but I'll try to summarise into something sensible:

Composition:  spun from British rare breeds, including Teeswater, Wensleydale and Leicester Longwool

Yardage:  4ply - 350 m / 380 yds.  DK - 220 m / 238 yds.

Practicalities: cool handwash only

Handle:  despite feeling fairly 'rustic' due to the longwool used, this yarn is easily next to skin soft.  The longwool also affords it a weight and drape which would be beautiful in accessories and garments alike.  I can see folk thinking it's not soft enough, it doesn't compare to buttery merino, but I imagine it would last significantly longer.

Stitch definition: despite the halo (which is very attractive and, not to forget, warm!) the stitch defition is very clear, I've worked up a wee lace sample which turned out beautifully.

Range: available in 4-ply and DK, this is suitable for a wide variety of projects.  The colour palette is also amazing (as below!).

All in all, I adore this yarn, and hope to work with it as soon as I'm able!  Have you tried it yet?  What are you knitting with at the moment?

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