July 10, 2015 by Ysolda Teague

Need a new project to start this weekend or pack on a trip? A lightweight cardigan for cool summer evenings or mornings by a lake? Ishnana is now available. 

A classic feminine cardigan with knitterly details. The back features an organic cable and lace panel that looks deceptively complex. Two options are provided for the stitch patterns on front and sleeves, each of which picks up on different details from the back panel. 

The body is worked from the bottom up in one piece to the underarms, where fronts and back are divided and completed separately. After seaming the shoulders, stitches are picked up around the armhole and the sleeves are worked downwards in the round. The sleeve caps are shaped with short rows using an innovative technique that perfectly resembles the fit and shaping of a traditional set in sleeve. Directions are included for both elbow length and long sleeves. The cardigan is completed with ribbed button and neck bands worked from picked up stitches. 


July 01, 2015 by Ysolda Teague

Celebrate my birthday with me today with a wee gift from me to you — 30% off any purchase of my self published individual patterns! Use the coupon code LOVEWINS anytime before midnight tomorrow (July 2nd) GMT at the checkout here or on Ravelry :D

And I completely missed it while I was away at Squam but this blog turned 10 a few weeks ago. I started it because on a complete whim I decided I could make a knitting pattern and submit it to Knitty — their submission template asked for a short bio and suggested it was a good place to include your blog link, so I made one. If you'd told me then that this would have changed my entire adult life, in so many wonderful ways, I'd never have believed you.  Right now I'm sitting in the sunshine, in a wonderfully inspiring (if a little messy) studio, I get to come to work everyday and talk about yarn and the history of textiles and how we can make knitting patterns more fun to use with my fabulous employees, and I can't imagine what I would have ended up doing that would be more creatively fulfilling with a better community of people. And that, that is because of you. Thank you! Here's to the next 10!

In case you'd like a laugh, here is my first blog post (it's more or less sfw unless you're in a very conservative enviroment but there is some very stylised nudity) — not the most professional start, but in the end my sweater fitting classes do involve a lot of talking about breasts! I'm never doing that much intarsia again though, even if it comes back into style!


June 16, 2015 by Ysolda Teague

One of the first knitting websites I stumbled across, before Ravelry had even been sketched out, was a Japanese one that, reassuringly, hasn't changed a bit since then. I remember trying to knit their pattern for Sanquhar gloves, although it was way beyond my skill level (and my nonexistant ability to read the text) I loved the strong geometric pattern. I had no idea then that the traditional design originated not from Japan but from a small town less than 2 hours from where I lived. I've never made a pair of gloves, but I do have a stunning pair displayed in my studio that my aunt rescued from a charity shop.

Everytime I think a design detail might be too finicky I look at the teeny tiny, patterned gussets between each of those fingers. You can knit anything. 

Years later I knew we'd moved my studio into the right building when I walked past this calendar hanging in the hallway outside the studio of illustrator Anna Wright. Anna grew up near Sanquhar and created this illustration for A' The Airts who've been doing great work to keep the traditional patterns and techniques alive and vibrant within their local community and beyond (read Kate Davies' post about their recent knitting workshop event here.) I love that it features photos of actual knitting that's tied to a specific tradition, rather than just a generic idea of wool or knitting and the unravelled yarn works perfectly with Anna's loose linework. 

Every day at work I make coffee in one of the mugs, cheered by those mischievous sheep. As someone who's notorious for leaving half an inch of cold tea or coffee sitting in the mug I swear the fact that there's a hidden wee sheep at the bottom of the cup encourages me to drink up, sometimes I even manage before my drink is tepid! The top is wide enough for an aeropress too, unlike most of the bone china mugs I find in the UK. 

In case you need a mug for yourself, or maybe a signed print my lovely neighbours at Anna Wright have created a coupon code for a 20% discount on any Knitting Circle item. Just enter code YSOLDA (in all caps) at checkout - code is valid until the end of June. 

Have you ever tried knitting one of these iconic patterns? 





June 15, 2015 by Ysolda Teague

As we were spending the last few moments knitting on the dock at Squam, resisting the pull of real life (and, in my case, packing scattered belongings) I asked Clara if she had any yarn leftover from the Art Fair frenzy. Yarn that maybe I could purchase since I hadn't had the chance the previous evening. For three hours I'd helped Ravelry serve beer to the excited line for Clara's rarely available yarns and, despite the fact that we were in a room maybe 16 feet wide I hadn't been able to see the yarn at all. But there was a little box left, and it was almost all white. Were people nervous about white garments? Did the colours, even the natural ones, elicit a stronger emotional response? 

I mentioned that I love white sweaters, and wear white shirts all the time because at least white is easy to get stains out of. I might have mentioned that I wished I had a white sweater like the beautiful Beekman Tavern Thea Colman designed for my book The Rhinebeck Sweater. All I meant was that I wanted to knit a white sweater, but Thea was part of the group on the dock, and she said, "I have it in the cabin, it's a little big for me"

Thea paused. My brain was trying to tell me that it would be polite to shake my head, say "no, no, no, I couldn't possibly, take it." In reality I was probably grinning expectantly. 

I believe we discussed the fact that I could display it at events. It certainly deserves to be kept for best. But today, well I couldn't resist. Nor could I resist the text message, right after I'd figured out that the shipment I was waiting in the studio for was held up in customs, that said "Want to come to the park?" 

Yes. And Beekman Tavern will only be worn occasionally but only because I really do want to keep it for display purposes. But today, on a completely ordinary day, I'm so happy I wore it without worrying. Classic style that feels like the softest hug.  

And that box of white yarn in the trunk of Clara's car. Just like the Foxhill Farm Thea used for Beekman Tavern it was Cormo. Yes. 

You can read more about the yarn's story here http://clara-yarn.myshopify.com/products/cormo1-0 and while this particularly one is sold out, keep an eye out for new yarn releases from Clara — they go fast! 


April 29, 2015 by Ysolda Teague

This Saturday I'll be heading to West Kilbride to spend Yarn Shop day with the lovely Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt. Join us between 11am and 5pm for knitting and plenty of cake! I'm bringing some samples with me, as well as some books and printed patterns to sell. And of course we'll be surrounded by lots of beautiful yarn. Hope to see you there!

The Old Maiden Aunt Studio address

Studio 30, Ritchie Street
West Kilbride   KA23 9AL


March 11, 2015 by Ysolda Teague

I can't quite believe it's already almost upon us but we're busy getting ready for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this weekend. The first one was a resounding success, I think the only busier yarny events I've been to were Rhinebeck and Maryland, both long established much larger affairs. It was so busy that a few months later I ran into the lovely folks from Textile Garden and commented that I hadn't seen them since Knit Nation, "but you were right opposite us at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival," was the confused reply. Right opposite and yet for the entire day there were so many people between us that I didn't see their stand! 

Two years on the festival is back with a new, larger venue so I hopefully won't miss anyone. And although it promises to be both busy and exciting the organisers have done a great job of including space to knit, relax, catch your breathe and plan your next yarn purchases. 

If you need a little help deciding what to do with such an overwhelming array of yarns (seriously, go look at that vendor list) come and visit us at the Westknits & Ysolda booth. We'll have lots of our books and patterns and you can see some of our samples in the yarn (including a few peeks at what's coming up). Stephen and his business partner Malia are also bringing some limited edition goodies from their store in Amsterdam, Stephen and Penelope, including kits of exclusive Hedgehog Fibres yarns!

We also have an exciting special guest - Clara Parkes is dropping in to share her love of yarn and sign copies of her beautiful memoir The Yarn Whisperer. 

When we called the publisher to order copies of Clara's book a case of Cirilia Rose's new book Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads might have also ended up on its way. If you haven't seen it yet you'll understand why I felt so compelled when you do! 

Stephen and I will be in the booth most of the time when we aren't teaching (me on Sunday morning and afternoon, him on Saturday afternoon) so come hang out anytime but to make sure you don't miss getting a book signed here are times when we will absolutely definitely be there pen in hand! 

Stephen - noon

Ysolda - 1pm

Clara - 2pm

On both Saturday and Sunday!

Will we see you there? You can buy your tickets in advance here if you haven't already done so :) And if don't already have tickets and would like more pennies to spend on yarn I have a couple of weekend passes to give away! Just leave a comment saying what you're hoping to find at the festival before Friday at noon and we'll draw 2 winners and be in touch with how you can pick them up on Saturday morning! 

Tomorrow morning Felicity is coming to visit the studio so we can do a final run through of Saturday evening's Ca-baa-ret  I never did find a top hat (or the time to knit one!) and I'm not entirely sure what pub quiz impressario actual means, but I do know what the quiz prizes, questions and challenges are though, and I know what a treat it is to hear Felix talk about her work and infectious enthusiasm for wool, so I'm sure it will be a fun evening!