Summer knitting

Houlland

Summer is for knitting, just for the fun of it.

This weekend, I cast on for Donna Smith’s Houlland from Kate Davies’ fabulous The Book of Haps. The border is knit in one long strip — the body worked from its picked up stitches.

The yarn is beautiful and fine. Shetland Supreme Lace Weight, 2 ply from an all-time favourite yarn company of mine: Jamieson & Smith from the Shetland Islands.

What are you working on this summer? I’m on Instagram, sharing knits and food (mostly) — join me there!

Funchal Twisted Wrap

Funchal Fair Isle Twisted Wrap Funchal Fair Isle Twisted Wrap Funchal Fair Isle Twisted Wrap

This was a lot of fun to knit. I love stranded colourwork and I love Jamieson & Smith’s 100 per cent Shetland wool. Couldn’t go wrong with this pattern either: Kate Davies’ Funchal Moebius!

I did adapt it by adding a full twist rather than forming a Moebius strip as written. I also shortened it so it fits comfortably around the neck rather than shoulders.

The piece is knit in the round, as a tube, and then grafted together after the twist. Fun, fun, fun! I came across The Purl Bee’s video tutorial for Kitchener stitch, which I think is helpful if you haven’t grafted before, or need a refresher before diving in.

I hope you enjoy wearing it, Jane! And a very happy holiday to all!

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Ecclefechan Mitts

Ecclefechan Mitts

The fabric of these mitts almost looks woven. I used a worsted spun, 100 per cent Shetland wool yarn from Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Heritage line. The result is a soft fabric with a smooth finish.

Ecclefechan Mitts Ecclefechan Mitts

Kate Davies designed the pattern; an interpretation of traditional two-colour gloves made in Dentdale and the Scottish Borders. Ecclefechan, a Borders’ village, is on the map as the birthplace of satirist Thomas Carlyle, as well as for its butter tarts. If you need incentive, the pattern comes with a recipe!

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Tortoise and Hare Gauntlets

Tortoise and Hare Gauntlets

My brother asked me to make these gauntlets for a friend in Japan using Kate Davies’ Tortoise and Hare pattern. I’m a huge fan of Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland wool and had picked up four shades quite a while ago with this pattern in mind.

I initially knit the longer version, on larger needles and ended up with a gauntlet that stretched up to my elbow. So … I ripped it out and started again using smaller needles and fewer pattern repeats.

Tortoise and Hare Gauntlets

I love the look of the braiding after the ribbed cuff, and of course the tortoise and hare motif. After the sizing and gauge issues were figured out this was a very enjoyable knit. There will be more tortoises and hares in my future!

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Rams and Yowes: FO

I’ve finally finished and blocked my Rams and Yowes for my niece Sibella! I loved making this blanket – seeing the colourwork pattern emerge and steeking for the first time definitely kept things interesting.

There were a couple of minor mishaps along the way. As I mentioned in my steeking post, I bought the kit from Jamieson & Smith and ran out of several colours (shaela, mooskit, sholmit and gaulmogot) while working the backside of the border. I didn’t stress it though as I had enough of the other five colours to transition earlier than written, and I don’t think it’s noticeable. I highly recommend working with Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme; it just gets softer after blocking and I love that it comes in all natural colours of Shetland wool.

If you make a Rams and Yowes for yourself, I would suggest working the garter stitch border on a smaller needle. I used the same size throughout (3 mm) and ended up with a slightly rippled border. Since it’s evenly rippled, I wasn’t too fussed about this either but if I make it again I’ll definitely go down a size to compare the finished result.

So, yay! I’m excited to pop this in the mail. And a big thanks to Jennifer at The Purple Purl for the steeking support!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Rams and Yowes: steeked

Crocheted steek

Thanks to all of you who weighed in on the pattern choice for my any-day-now niece or nephew’s baby blanket! As you can see, I went with Kate Davies’ Rams and Yowes. I ordered the kit from Jamieson & Smith and ended up a little light on the yardage in several colours. Luckily I ran out on the reverse site of the edging, so I’m not too concerned about it. But more about that later, when I share photos of the finished blanket. The only thing left to do is block and document!

I wanted to share photos of the steek itself, since this was a new technique for me. Jennifer of The Purple Purl gave me some very helpful pointers and options for steeking: unreinforced, crocheted, sewn and needle felted. I landed on the crochet-reinforced steek that also happens to be the type recommended in the pattern. All in all, the process was not scary, contrary to what I had imagined. My face was beet red as I was doing the actual cutting though, so there must have been some real stress there.

Essentially, by single-crocheting through the entirety of the fabric – floats and all – you are securing a line up either side of the steek. This prevents the knitting from unravelling once the steek has been cut, and you can then pick up stitches along the new edges. This pattern uses a doubled edging that acts almost like a hem that hides the steek edges neatly inside. I used scrap pink wool yarn to reinforce the steek, but you can’t see it as it’s hidden inside the two layers of the edging. Neat!

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Mucklemuff

I had to laugh when I read Kate Davies’ description of this fantastic project: A “skater’s muff.” I’ve skated once since childhood – over Christmas holidays last year – and I can’t imagine having my hands anywhere else but straight in front of me like some kind of zombie ice skater. But I am willing to accept that not everyone shares these challenges so here’s one for them!

Chris’ mom loved the last muff I made her so much that she put in a request for another. As soon as Kate blogged her Mucklemuff pattern I knew this one would be it. It uses a motif from Mary-Jane Mucklestone’s 200 Fair Isle Motifs, and a neat I-cord finish and wrist-loop. Handy if you need to make a quick stop while skating!

I used Lima by Diamond Yarn for the first time – a single-ply 100% wool aran-weight yarn – and would definitely use it again. I think it worked beautifully for colourwork.

[Photos courtesy of Christopher]

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Special Knits for Special Babies

rams and yowes by Kate Davies (left) and Hansel by Gudrun Johnston

My brother had some good news for me this weekend – he and his wife are expecting a baby and I’m going to be an aunt. I started thinking pretty much immediately about a special knit that I could make them. So here’s where I would appreciate some decision-making help. These are four of my favourite baby blanket patterns: Kate Davies’ rams and yowes, Gudrun Johnston’s Hansel Hap Shawl, and Anne Hanson’s Cradle Me and Honey Baby.

Cradle Me (left) and Honey Baby both by Anne Hanson

I’m leaning towards either the Hansel Hap Shawl or rams and yowes. I think either would be lovely in undyed shades of Shetland wool. rams and yowes involves steeking, which is a technique used in circular knitting where you knit a tube and then cut the finished piece to allow for openings like the front of a cardigan, armholes or necklines. I’ve never steeked before but would love to try it!

Which one do you like the best? What are some of your favourite knits for special babies?

[Photos courtesy of, from top left, Kate Davies, Gudrun Johnston, Anne Hanson]

Wovified

Wovember is a movement started by Kate Davies and Felicity Ford encouraging the celebration of100% wool. Wool that comes from actual sheep – not wool blends and not synthetics, the real deal.

The idea got me to thinking about how much 100% wool I use in my knitting so I took a  closer look at my past projects. In the spirit of increasing my own woolly awareness, I started a ‘100% wool’ tag.  There are more projects that fall into that category than I expected. I’ve been using a lot of alpaca and linen wool blends lately and actually had a hard time remembering my most recent 100% wool project. It turns out that it was Damson on October 2nd – so not long ago at all!

I also ‘wovified’ myself by ordering some of Felicity’s 100% wool badges, which you can see above. This woolly campaign brought Shrek to mind – New Zealand’s now deceased celebrity sheep. Six years of freedom and a 60-pound fleece!