September 30, 2014 by Rebecca

Cadeautje the latest Knitworthy pattern, I think the pattern description pretty much covers it. I would add these are ridiculously warm and comfy. Also you should make them for everyone (aka everyone will think you should make them a pair!) Here are mine and no you can't have them.

I used Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds Chunky and carded fibre that I got at the Swiss open-air museum Ballenberg in 2009, I don't have any other details on the fibre. It was a little trickier to make even thrums with than combed tops but is possible. I pulled a small amount fibre off the batt and teased it into a longer strip before folding that to create the thrum. The photo below is from my phone when I was making the thrums for the second slipper.

For those of you curious what the inside looks like, also if you follow Ysolda's Instagram her rainbow wig photo from last week will make sense now!

Have fun with the thrums and enjoy cosy toes all winter! I'm looking forward to wearing mine, but it's not cold enough yet.

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September 29, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

I was going to put this up last Thursday but somehow it's already Monday. Not quite sure how that happened! The nice part is it's now perfectly timed so that you can cast on a fun thrummed project — I just released Cadeautje, the third pattern in the Knitworthy collection. 

Use a non-superwash wool that feels nice and soft to you. It's important not to use a superwash fibre because over time you want the thrums to felt together on the inside into an even blanket. Superwash fibres won't felt together and could fall out. Merino, BFL and Shetland are all ideal and easy to find. It's easier to make the thrums from combed top but carded batts or roving will give a lovely fluffy effect once you manage to separate somewhat even pieces! 

Hold the end of the fibre in one hand and grip further down the length with the other, hands about shoulder width apart. Gently pull to separate a length around 8" long. 

Pinch off a wee bit of fibre from this length — about a 1/4" wide. Pull the ends gently to tease it and fluff up the fibres a bit. 

Fold the ends into the middle so they overlap just a bit. 

Keep repeating this process until you have a nice big pile. They go fast once you start incorporating them into a project and stopping to make them one by one is no fun. 

When it's time to add a thrum insert the needle into the stitch and wrap the yarn as normal.

When it's time to add a thrum insert the needle into the stitch and wrap the yarn as normal.

Pinch the ends of the thrum together with the yarn and complete the stitch.

Pinch the ends of the thrum together with the yarn and complete the stitch.

The inside is almost like a sheepskin

The inside is almost like a sheepskin

Lay the thrum across the needle, alongside the working yarn.

Lay the thrum across the needle, alongside the working yarn.

On the following row treat the thrum and working yarn as one stitch and work into them together. 

On the following row treat the thrum and working yarn as one stitch and work into them together. 

and the outside has a cute lice pattern. The thrums can be worked in various patterns or try playing with coloured stripes. 

and the outside has a cute lice pattern. The thrums can be worked in various patterns or try playing with coloured stripes. 


technique thursday

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September 18, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

We're a wee bit distracted today in Scotland! Yesterday I joked on twitter and facebook that if someone didn't come up with a topic for Technique Thursday I'd end up doing a tutorial for Saltire pom poms. There were some excellent suggestions and I've put them on our list for the future (and since many ideas were things I've already covered you can always see the full list here, or follow my TT pinboard). The thing is, enough people asked if Scottish flag pom poms were possible, and I was curious and distracted enough to try. So here it is — a tutorial for saltire pom poms. 

The pom pom makers that split into two halfs work best (you can make a cardboard version too!)

This tutorial for alphabet pom poms is amazing and was super helpful for these. I don't think I'll ever get mine quite that neat! 

After filling in the centre blue triangle (make sure it's thicker in the middle) continue wrapping blue allover until that half is full. Repeat on the other side of the pom pom maker. 

Cut, tie and stick to hats, bicycles or the baby!

Babies make an excellent distraction from politics, and they love pom poms but please don't let them play with them without close supervision!

Babies make an excellent distraction from politics, and they love pom poms but please don't let them play with them without close supervision!

I'm off to go cast my vote, and I will be voting for an independent Scotland. Not because, silly pom poms aside, I'm enthusiastically nationalist and patriotic, but because I want to live in a country where my vote matters and where we focus on a better future for everyone rather than invading other countries. However you're voting, or whether you're watching curiously from afar (or have no idea what I'm on about! - and a more serious summary), it's been amazing to see the levels of engagement this has generated. I do hope we'll see that continue.

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September 15, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

The next pattern in the Knitworthy collection is up and it's one I had so much fun knitting! 

Hediye is a snuggly cabled shawl with a gently curved edging and triangular centre. The edging is worked first, and then stitches for the centre are picked up along one of the long edges and decreased towards the top. The cable patterns on the edging would be an excellent introduction to cabling and a good place to practice cabling without a cable needle. No crossings involve more than a total of 4 stitches and the pattern is intuitive to follow. Short rows are worked into each repeat so that the outer edge is longer. 

Hediye is shown in two colours but would be equally beautiful in a single colour or get creative and play with stripes or colour blocking in the centre triangle. 

Wondering how to pronounce it? Google can help with that! 

Remember the contest to win a copy of the collection for a friend? Well the stories shared were so good that I couldn't choose! Here are a couple of my favourites but everyone who shared a story got to nominate a lucky friend. Yay gifts! If you left a comment and haven't received an email about this please contact us so we can sort out gifting the collection to your friend. 

The funniest story comes from Marie, I just wish there was a picture!: 

My friend Jamie is a huge Madonna fan, and when Madge last played the UK was excited to be seeing her in London. He was of course going to be wearing his kilt - but as Jamie is notorious at getting very carried away wth his 'vogueing', I thought it wise to send him off with a suitable undergarment to save any blushes instead of him going the usual 'commando'. So, I knitted him a pair of boxer shorts in a cool cotton mix, complete with cheeky hand prints emblazoned on the rear. He was suitably thrilled and wore them to the gig and had a whale of a time (they even managed to stay up with no problems, despite his very enthusiastic gyrations). A tired but happy Jamie disembarked from his flight at Glasgow Airport, and wearily made his way to the baggage conveyer to claim h is holda ll. Dying for sleep, he was rather perturbed to find that although he was all but last to claim his luggage, it didn't seem to have appeared. Standing impatiently, he became aware of a strange grinding noise coming from the conveyor. Peering closer through the baggage feed, he saw with a dawning horror that his holdall had split open and the conveyor was jammed - his precious hand knit unmentionables had become lodged at the side of the conveyor and were becoming unravelled in a grisly end. Red faced and extremely ruffled, he flagged down the nearest attendant to his emergency, who immediately arranged for the conveyor to be halted and an engineer called. After over an hour of intense grappling, the engineer managed to retrieve the holdall and liberate what was left of Jamie's pants. With muttered thanks and apologies, he fled from the scene vowing to fly only from Glasgow in future heavily diguised for fear of being recognised again as 'the guy who got his knitted pants s tuck in the conveyor', and swearing solemnly to stick to M & S boring cotton from now on - just to be on the safe side!


Least Knitworthy recipent has to be Heather's sister! 

My sister was removed from my knitworthy list the day I gave her a handknit alpaca blanket and her reaction was, "Oh, we have so many blankets already, that one can go in the dogs' room."

Most loved item is this sweater that Anna knit for her husband: 

My husband is very worthy of handknitted gifts. He is aware of all the time and consideration I put into my knitting projects and he always appreciates a nice fiber and ingenious design. I knit a lot for him, probably more than for myself, and he really wears the stuff I make. One knitted gift has been more loved than the others though. A couple of years ago I knitted him a pullover in yak-yarn for his birthday and he wore it constantly until it nearly fell of his body and was more rags than pullover. I have never ever before felt that something I knitted was so appreciated and since then I have knitted even more for him. Of course I have made him a new yak-pullover, identical to the first one.

Most unfortunate scarf was made by Angela for her dad: 

My story is about my daddy. A real southern man, smart in all of the right ways; a great fixer of things, from boo boo's to radios and cars. A problem solver and good ideas too :)
About 15 years ago now, I started knitting and thought for Christmas every year my parents needed a handknit. The first was hats. Everybody got hats. And I took photos that day of everyone opening their hats, wearing their hats. I never ever saw the hats again. Next year was scarves. I knit everyone scarves. I said "your scarves look great ! I made them to match all of your HATS!" I took the photos of everyone in their scarves. (nobody could recall at the moment where the hats were for a collective set photo). Anyway as I was leaving, I said to my daddy
"please daddy, use the scarf, don't let it sit in a drawer".
There was at this same time outside a billy goat named Booger. Daddy always kept goats and they were forever getting out of the fence- but Booger was certainly the worst. He would get out and eat the neighbors collard patch down to the ground. He would get out and snatch mama's sheets off the clothesline. He would ... etc. He had horns and many times I watched him being chased and then him chasing back his chaser ( it was so funny) . But one day daddy said to me he had 'got Booger good' and he wouldn't be getting back out and you know what he had done? Tied a cloth around a long stick and the n attach ed it to the leather collar around Booger's neck . He couldn't get thru the fence anymore :) You know what that cloth was ? Daddy's scarf ! He said to me " I thought you'd be happy, i'm using the scarf " ..... haha.

And this story from Diane about her generous sons is so sweet: 

I learned to knit while pregnant with my eldest son. I knit this little rainbow bear and he slept with it until he was about 2 and his little brother came along. He gave the bear to his little brother. Now, 6 years later, they have a new baby cousin and they passed the well-worn bear along to her. Who would have thought a beginner project (that is not even well knit!) would be the knitter's gift that keeps on giving!


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September 11, 2014 by Rebecca

Supplies needed  — zipper, ribbon, thread, pins, needle, scissors and thimble if you use one

Supplies needed  — zipper, ribbon, thread, pins, needle, scissors and thimble if you use one

First step is to block the cardigan so that the stitches and edges are smooth and there aren't any changes to the size of the sweater after blocking.

Adjust the zipper length if necessary, for wee Carson you want the top of the zipper to be level with the end of the raglan decreases. Instructions for shortening zipper are included in the wee Carson pattern.

Pin in the zipper, trying not to stretch out the edge of the cardigan as you go. You want the stitches to lay flat and remember that the knitting will stretch but the zipper won't!

I pinned in one side first and sewed it in before moving to the second side so I could line up the pattern repeats when I moved to the other side.

Sew down the inside edge of the zipper closet to the teeth, stitch into the gutter between the edge of the colourwork and the I-cord edging.

Sew down the outside edge of the zipper using a whipstitch to tack it down. This edge is going to be covered by the ribbon so don't worry if it's not super neat, its a good chance to practice before moving on to the ribbon.

Sorry you can't really see my stitches, the thread is an exact match to the zipper.

Sorry you can't really see my stitches, the thread is an exact match to the zipper.

Pin and sew in the other side of the zipper, lining it up as best as you can.

When sewing in the second side of the zip I find it easier to unzip the zipper, but I do zip it up occasionally to see how things are lining up.

Ribbon facing

For a very neat finish and so the rough edge of the zipper is enclosed you can cover it with a ribbon facing. For wee Carson the ribbon goes all the way around the edge of the cardigan adding structure to the hood and preventing the edge from flipping out. If your cardigan doesn't have a hood you can sew in a ribbon facing on each edge to cover the zip.

Pin the ribbon easing it in so the outside of the sweater lays flat, leave a few extra inches at either end.

Start sewing in the ribbon closest to the edge of the sweater about an inch away from the bottom and leave the ends of the ribbon until last.  You'll probably need to make some adjustments as you work your way around the hood because it won't have the sturdiness of the zipper supporting the knitting. Then sew down the other edge of the ribbon.

I left the ends of the ribbon until last so I could fold them under and finish them neatly. Unfortunately I forgot to get a photo of this bit before I left wee Carson in Canada for my niece.



technique thursday

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September 04, 2014 by Sarah

I'm sure I can't be the only one to bind off a new hat, tuck in the ends and stick it straight on my head for a trip outside. It's tempting when you have a fresh new hat that you love, but these days I really try to resist! Just like with sweaters and shawls, blocking can make such a huge difference to hats, and just makes me love them even more.

This week I finished up Bronntanas, Ysolda's first pattern from the new Knitworthy collection.  Mine is knit in Malabrigo Worsted in the Frank's Ochre colourway. It truly is a honeycomb hat!  For slouchy hats like this one I use the easiest blocking method; flat, with no pins or wires.  Simply give your hat a little soak in the bath, gently squeeze out the water between towels and then shape flat. This really smooths out the stitches, and makes the honeycomb pattern pop.

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And since I had a hat bath set up, I took the chance to wash and re-block one of my other favourites from last winter, Scrollwork by Irina Dmitrieva, from Brooklyn Tweed's collection Wool People Vol.4. This pattern has intricate cables and a beautiful crown pattern which really benefits from blocking, especially when it's a non-slouchy beanie where the crown is really visible. Here's my favourite, but sad-looking hat -

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I blocked this a little differently. I used the same soaking technique as for Bronntanas, but instead of laying it out flat I pushed a small plate up inside and stretched the crown out over the flat surface. You can do this as gently or firmly as you like, depending on how open and stretched you like the stitches. If your hat had a lace pattern rather than cables you might like to be a little more firm.  Once I was happy with the crown, I balanced the plate on an upside-down glass to let the sides of the hat hang down, and you can straighten and smooth out the sides here too.

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I also love the method of blocking your hat on a balloon! If you have any other favourites let us know about them in the comments. Hats seem to be my favourite kind of project to knit at the moment and it won't be long before I have another little pile waiting for their bath.

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