Fine Art Aran: Cuddly Kandinsky Cardigan

I do love cardigan’s and I am so pleased with my Kandinsky cardigan knitted using Rowan Fine Art Aran.

CardiFrontHappy2_s

It feels so incredible soft next to my skin and I know it will be nice and warm too! However, if it gets too warm I can just unbutton it……..that’s why I love cardigans!

FAA Back View

The reason Fine Art Aran is so soft, cuddly and warm is because it’s a luxurious blend of merino wool, kid mohair, alpaca and mulberry silk. The actual fibre content is wool: 50%, mohair: 20%, silk: 5%, alpaca: 25%. The unique colour effect is achieved by hand painting the yarn with different colours just like Rowan Fine Art, specially designed for socks, shawls and other accessories. Fine Art Aran comes in 8 different shades…………….

FAA Shade card

but I chose Flamenco (549), a lovely blue/purple/green mix for my cardigan……….

FAA Jagged Knitted Swatch

As you knit up Fine Art Aran it produces a stripey coloured effect, as shown above, which I have seen on lots of knitwear in the shops recently. However, I wanted to interfere with this effect so I used a slip stitch amongst the regular stocking stitch to scramble the striped coloured effect and give the knitted fabric more texture……….

FAA Close UpTo produce this effect, pictured above, I wrapped the yarn twice around the needle on every 4th stitch and slipped this stitch for the next 3 rows. On the 5th row I wrapped the yarn twice around the needle on every 2nd stitch and slipped this stitch for the next 3 rows. Then I repeated these 8 rows over and over again. I used stocking stitch as the basis for the slip stitch pattern and 4½mm (US 7) knitting needles. If you do decide to do this slip stitch please check your tension beforehand. You may also need to buy an extra ball of yarn just in case you need it as this stitch can make the width of the knitted fabric slightly smaller. However, you can knit this cardigan in regular stocking stitch as per the instructions given for the pattern and produce a lovely self striping coloured garment!

Kandinsky can actually be knitted up as a sweater as well as a cardigan; its simple ribbed edgings and stocking stitch make it ideal for the beginner knitter. Here is the sweater version, pictured below, on the front of the Fine Art Aran Mini Collection, shown knitted in the shade Azonto (552).

MiniCollectionFAA

This collection includes 8 easy to wear designs taken from the Rowan archive, originally designed by Kim Hargreaves and Martin Storey. There’s definitely something for everyone in this collection ranging from a simple slouchy hat (Turner) to oversized collared jacket (Vangogh).

Turner

Turner, designed by Kim Hargreaves

Vangogh

Vangogh, designed by Kim Hargreaves

Rowan have released another set of patterns that use this beautiful yarn: Simple Shapes Fine Art Aran.

SimpleShapesFineArtAran

This collection contains 8 simple stitch sweaters and cardigans designed by Sarah Hatton.  As Fine Art Aran is a colour effect yarn it is ideal for these simple designs as they allow the hand painted colour blends to flourish. Here’s another two cardigan’s I would love to knit…………

Durkar

Durkar, designed by Sarah Hatton, from the Simple Shapes Fine Art Aran Collection

Hepworth

Hepworth, designed by Sarah Hatton, from the Simple Shapes Fine Art Aran Collection

Rowan also have an online collection of 4 cowls designed by two of my Rowan Ambassador colleagues Anne Featonby and Maria Niedermayr, using Fine Art Aran. You just need one ball for each of these projects and the designs are all free to download for Row@n Members.

CowlAnneFeatonby

CowlMariaNiedermayer

It is still sunny and warm here in Colorado……another near 90 degree F beautiful blue sky day today…..but I can’t wait to wear my cuddly Kandinsky cardigan!

FAA Funny

If you have knitted something using Fine Art Aran please do let me know by leaving a comment or why not post a picture on my ‘What Colours Make’ Facebook page……I would love to see it!

To go to my ‘What Colours Make’ Facebook page click here

To view the Simple Shapes Fine Art Aran collection as a movie click here

To view all the Fine Art Aran designs on the Rowan website click here

If you would like more information about becoming a Row@n member click here

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive email notifications for my  new blog posts please click here to subscribe.

Happy knitting!

Autumn Knitting 2014: Kaffe’s KAL or Something to Wear?

Rowan are about to launch their second global knit-a-long and this time they are celebrating colour with Kaffe Fassett! Kaffe has designed an Afghan using Pure Wool Worsted in four different colourways but you can also choose to knit two different size cushions if you want to make something smaller but still join in the fun.

KaffeKALimage

The first pattern will be released on 1st October 2014, so if you’re interested in taking part take a look at all the information (see links below) including the shopping lists and start buying your yarn. There is also a video on You Tube featuring Kate Buller speaking with Kaffe about his design and Sarah Hatton will also be making a series of instructional videos all of which will be great to watch! So no need to be scared if you are a beginner!

I will not be joining in with Kaffe’s KAL as I already have many projects lined up for the autumn and winter. I will post lots of images on my Facebook page ‘What Colours Make’ so you can see my progress, or lack of it!

At the moment I am knitting Bretton Stripe from the pattern book Denim, The Second Generation, for my husband Neil. This design by Martin Storey has sizing available for men, women and children. Here’s the cute children’s one………..

BrettonStripeChild

Bretton Stripe, designed by Martin Storey

Bretton Stripe is knitted using Original Denim, a unique yarn that behaves like denim cotton fabric: it shrinks on its first wash and the colour continues to slightly fade over time. I find this slightly scary; I hope it shrinks to the right size!

I also have some Mohair Haze in the blue shade Tumble and will probably knit Brigitte, designed again by Martin Storey, which is actually from the Angora Haze pattern book.

Brigitte2

Brigitte, designed by Martin Storey

Just a note on Angora Haze…………Rowan took the decision in December 2013 to stop sourcing Angora altogether and to discontinue their Angora Haze products. They developed Mohair Haze as an alternative that has similar properties and feel to Angora. Mohair Haze can be used for all Rowan patterns written for Angora Haze however for every 1 ball of Angora Haze you will need approximately 1.5 balls of Mohair Haze. This yarn does feel incredibly soft and cuddly and I think I will actually prefer it to Angora anyway. I’ll let you know how I get on with Brigitte in a few months time.

I also have a lovely stash of another one of Rowan’s new yarns called Brushed Fleece in the pink shade Grotto, as in the picture below. Brushed Fleece is an incredibly soft blend of extra fine merino wool and baby alpaca making it very wearable, warm and lightweight. The yarn has a soft marl colour effect and is quick to knit so I am really looking forward to using it! I am going to knit Esk, designed yet again by Martin Storey ( I guess I just like his designs), from the pattern book also titled Brushed Fleece.

Esk

Esk, designed by Martin Storey.

I will make the body longer but I’m not sure about the sleeves. I tried on Esk while I was at the mill with the Rowan team and to my surprise I quite liked the 3/4 length sleeves; I thought they wouldn’t suit me!

I also have Big Wool and Big Wool Colour to make Jitterbug, pictured below, from the Big Wool Colour Collection.

Jitterbug2

Jitterbug, designed by Lisa Richardson.

In the picture above it is knitted using Vert (Big Wool) and Carnival (Big Wool Colour) which I did like but I wanted something more blue so I chose the shades Steel Blue and Fairground……what do you think?

SteelBlueFairground

So, what will you be knitting over the next few months? Will you be joining the Kaffe Fassett Mystery KAL or have you got some other fantastic projects lined up? Let me know by leaving a reply, if you like.

As promised here’s some links to click on………

See my progress and on my Facebook Page ‘What Colours Make’

Kaffe KAL on the Rowan Facebook page.

Kaffe KAL You Tube video.

 Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive email notifications for my  new blog posts please click here to subscribe.

Soft Velvety Rowan Chenille

I knew the moment I saw and squished a doughnut shaped ball of Rowan Chenille I was going to love it! I was also delighted to see that it was not a thick bulky yarn but a fine double stranded yarn which, when knitted using 3.75mm (5 US) size needles, produces a soft velvety fabric without any of that ‘worming’ like some chenille yarns do. And now that I have knitted and worn the little short-sleeved top pictured below I can confirm that it is indeed soft and cuddly to wear.

ChenilleSailor

 I used the pattern Sailor, designed by Sarah Hatton, from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 55.

Sailor

Sailor, Softknit Cotton, designed by Sarah Hatton.

Although this design uses Softknit Cotton my knitting gauge with Chenille and 4mm needles came out very close to the one stated for Sailor. So, I went with Sailor as I loved the design and I only had 5 balls of Chenille. I also changed the stripe design and decided to use the reverse side of the fabric as the right-side for my top as I loved the wavy texture it created.

ReverseSide

Rowan Chenille was launched in May 2014 and is available in 12 strong jewel like colours. For my top I used Deep Sea (758) as the main colour and Storm (757) for the stripes.

ChenilleShades

It is 100% cotton which makes it ideal to wear all year round and is very versatile too. It shows off cables and textured stitches brilliantly, is ideal for colour work and mixing with other Rowan yarns. If you have read some of my previous posts you will know that I would love to make Anja from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 56, pictured below, knitted using Chenille and another new yarn from Rowan, Mohair Haze.

Anja

Anja designed by Marie Wallin using two of the new Rowan yarns, Chenille and Mohair Haze.

To accompany this newish yarn, Rowan have published a collection of 12 women’s garment and accessory designs from Marie Wallin, Martin Storey, Lisa Richardson, Sarah Hatton and Gemma Atkinson using Chenille.

ChenilleCover

The Chenille Collection includes wrap over cardigans, cable and weave textured knits, colour blocked and simple rib sweaters. I love Braid (pictured below) a long line cardigan with a textured cable design, deep rib edgings and pockets, designed by Sarah Hatton.

Braid

Rowan Chenille is great for home accessories too and if you managed to get your hands on a copy of Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 56 you will have noticed the section titled A Colourful Home consisting of colourful designs for the home. Pictured below are a few from this collection available to download free to ROW@N members: Origami Flower Cushion by Lisa Richardson using Chenille, Embossed Stripe Cushion by Marie Wallin using Chenille and Wool Cotton and Woven Stripe Bed Runner (in the foreground) by Marie Wallin using Chenille.

ColourfulHome

Rowan Chenille was easy to knit and also easy to frog if you make a mistake. One word of warning though, if you frog Chenille after the knitted fabric has been left for a few days or more and then knit with it again while it has got all the knit and purls kninks in the yarn it will appear to knit up differently than if knitted from a fresh ball. To prevent this, I dampened the kinky yarn with water to remove the crinkles and then let it dry before I knitted with it again. It may have been OK once the garment had been washed but I didn’t want to take that chance. If frogging immediately, the kinks haven’t had time to set in and I didn’t notice any difference in look of the knitted fabric.

I am sure I will be using this yarn again especially now that my husband Neil has seen it knitted up and wants me to replace his most favourite jumper: an old raggedy blue chenille one……………

Neil'sOldJumper

For more information on some of the items mentioned above please click on the links below:

Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 56 blog post

The Chenille Collection

A Colourful Home

Rowan Members

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Giveaway: Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56

Mag56CoverHere’s your chance to own a copy of the latest version of Rowan’s ever popular magazine featuring 41 knit and crochet patterns: Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56. I have a copy to giveaway to one of my lucky subscribers. The magazine is arranged into three style stories – Wilderness, Craftworks, and Essentials so I’m sure you’ll find many projects to make and love. Read on to see if you would like to win!

Wilderness: The Wilderness collection is inspired by the colours and feel of open, dramatic and wild landscapes with a strong Scottish influence. Textured stitches, houndstooth and herringbone tweeds are mixed with the main pattern influences of plaids, checks and fair isles by patch working, striping and phased yarn combinations to give a new and modern look to a traditional style. Here’s a selection of my favourites from this collection.

Ness designed by Marie Wallin using Rowan Tweed, Colourspun & Frost

Ness designed by Marie Wallin using Rowan Tweed, Colourspun & Frost

Fyn

Fyn designed by Marie Wallin using Cocoon

Laide2

Laide designed by Vibe Ulrik using Felted Tweed

Brack Cape

Brack Cape designed by Lisa Richardson using Cocoon and Frost

Scaven

Scaven designed by Marie Wallin using Felted Tweed

Craftwork: Craftwork is a celebration of pattern, colour and texture, inspired by the artisan’s approach to traditional craft and heavily influenced by the Bauhaus and Arts and Crafts movement. Textured yarns and stitches are used to blur saturated and neutral colours and give the knitted fabric a felted or imperfect look. An array of patterns abound: stripes, soft optical jacquard, colour blocking, ombre pattern banding, customized embroidery, pixelated florals, modern argyles, bright phasing, fairisle and oversized houndstooth. Here’s a selection of my favourites from this collection.

Karolin

Karolin by Lisa Richardson using one of the new Rowan yarns, Mohair Haze

Karolin is my absolute favourite of all the designs.

Anja

Anja designed by Marie Wallin using two of the new Rowan yarns, Chenille and Mohair Haze.

Birgit

Birgit designed by Sarah Hatton using the new Rowan yarn, Mohair Haze.

Gisela

Gisela designed by Gemma Atkinson using Kidsilk Haze

Essentials: In contrast to the above collections, the Essentials story focusses on the key shapes of the season which are simple and easy to wear. With the main emphasis on garment fit and shape, colouring is fairly neutral and knits are plain with some textured and lace stitches. With clean shapes and toned down colour the key season trend, brushed mohair, can flourish alongside the use of regular wool yarns. Here’s a selection of my favourites from this collection.

Stanza

Stanza designed by Sarah Hatton using a new yarn from Rowan, Mohair Haze

Melody

Melody designed by Martin Storey using Kid Classic

Song

Song designed by Julia Frank using Fine Lace

However, magazine 56 also includes many other features: WW1 knitting; a brief look into the amazing world of Rowan designer Lisa Richardson; a look into the history of British hand knitted glove making known as Sanquhar knitting; interesting facts about Alpaca; a simple to follow guide to two handed colourwork knitting; interesting information on the location for Wilderness; and a seasonal review of current and forthcoming publications.

So, if you’d like to win a copy of Rowan Magazine 56, all you need to do is subscribe to my blog and leave a comment below in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box letting me know which design from Magazine 56 you would love to make. I will pick a winner at random from all the comments left on this post at 4pm (US Mountain Time) on Sunday 17th August 2014.  All package and shipping costs will be paid for by me…..wherever you live. Good luck!

This competition is now closed. The winner of Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 56 is Jan Belton. Congratulations Jan!

To view the full collection on Rowan’s website click here.

Or you can view the full collection as a movie on YouTube…….just sit back and watch: click here

If you are a Row@n member you also can download five free patterns:
Click here to view and download the designs.

Yvonne

Yvonne designed by Grace Melville using Mohair Haze and Fine Art available to Row@n members only.

Rowan have also created a collection of eight homeware projects designed exclusively for Row@n members, as featured in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56. Click here to view these designs.

If you would like more information on becoming a Row@n member or opening a subscription with Rowan click on the links below.

Rowan Members

Rowan Subscription

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive email notifications for my  new blog posts please click here to subscribe.

Good luck and happy knitting and crocheting!

A Quick Summer Knit: Rowan Pure Linen

It may be the beginning of August but there is still time to knit something and be able to wear it this summer like ‘Lorne’, a short-sleeved cardigan in Rowan Pure Linen.Front2buttoned

Although I actually started this project quite a while ago, I stopped before I had really done much because I wanted to take part in the Mystery Afghan KAL. So, when I finally got to pick it up again it really was quite a quick knit…….I had it practically finished in 4 days! The reason it is quick ……… you only need 4 balls of yarn and it is knitted all in one piece sideways from the centre back.

BackView

You can see from the photo above that there is no seam at the centre back even though this is where you cast-on. This is because you use some waste yarn to cast-on and then using the Pure Linen yarn knit the first side of the cardigan (back, front and sleeves) and then pick up stitches from the centre back, discarding the waste yarn, and knit the other side of the cardigan. So, to finish all you have to do is sew 2 side seams together, pick up stitches along the neckline and rib 4 rows and sew on the buttons. Genius!

However, I decided to make two changes to the pattern: I grafted the side seam edges together and picked up stitches along the hem adding a picot cast-off edge. After sewing together one of the side seams I decided I was not happy with the way it looked so I undone the edges from the underarm to the hem (this was easy as they were cast-off stitches) and used Kitchener stitch to graft the side seams together. In the photo below you can see the sleeve and underarm seams are sewn together but the side seam is grafted together for a less visible join.

KitchenerStitch2

Then, even though the lower edge of the cardigan did have a ‘natural edge’ because the stitch at this edge on every row is a knit stitch, I had some left over yarn and thought I’d like to add a picot cast-off finish just to see what it looked like……and, I do like it!

PicotEdge

I really loved using this yarn and was pleasantly surprised by the result. If you see it in your local yarn store don’t be put off by it’s strange string-like appearance.

PureLinenYarn

When knitted it turns into a gorgeous fabric with a lovely sheen and drape; I can’t believe how fantastically well it does drape. Also, it does not behave the same way as woven linen, by which I mean creasing very badly; it has been scrunched up in my knitting bag for ages and did not crease at all. Before I sewed the buttons on I washed it in Soak, which my Rowan Ambassador friend Anne gave to me as a present on my recent trip to the Rowan Mill (thank you Anne….it’s lovely) and I laid it flat to dry. It only needed some minimal pressing afterwards!

For my ‘Lorne’ I chose the lovely dark pink shade called Arabian but there are seven others also……………

PureLinenShades

So, if you fancy a quick knit for August why not have a look at the other 13 designs by Lisa Richardson in the Pure Linen Collection………

PureLinenCollectionI would also quite like to knit this one………..

Byron Bay

Byron Bay

I think it would look great with a belt around the waist too!

I also like this lacy one called ‘Kilda’……….

Kilda

Kilda

Great over leggings too!

I mentioned a few months ago that I have also bought some more Pure Linen in Arctic to make Tamamara………….

Tamamara

Tamamara

not sure when I will start this though….soon I hope!

If you have already knitted something using Pure Linen I would love to see it. Please post a photo on my Facebook page which is called What Colours Make. Here’s the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/WhatColoursMake?ref=hl

And,  while you are there, it would be great if you could ‘like’ my page too!

Now for things to click on!

The Pure Linen Collection

Rowan Pure Linen

Kitchener Stitch on YouTube

Picot Cast-off on YouTube

If you have any questions you would like to ask me or comments you would like to share with me and my other readers about sewing together seams or adding picot cast-off edges, scroll down to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive notification of new blog posts please click here to subscribe.

Happy summer knitting!

Martin Storey Afghan: Making up and Competition Time!

So we are almost at the end of the Mystery Afghan KAL: just 9 days left to go. If you are about to sew everything together and have looked at the making-up instructions I will explain in this post what is meant by ‘slip stitch’ as this has left many of you, including myself, unsure. Also today, Rowan announced how you can win some goodies by posting photos of your afghans………read on to find out!

BlanketnoTrim_s

My Afghan, sewn together but no trim yet!

There are many ways you can sew the pieces of a knitted garment together but it is always best to use the most appropriate method to achieve the best result. Before I sewed my afghan squares together I was curious to know which type of seam would be used and was eager for the making-up clue to be published. When it was published Rowan suggested to use a slip stitch but unfortunately they didn’t really explain what was meant by this and I couldn’t find a video on the Rowan site. Some of my Rowan Ambassador colleagues had steamed ahead and had already sewed their squares together using mattress stitch which is a great way to produce an invisible join but it left a bulky seam on the reverse side of the afghan. I wanted a flat seam without any bulk that was also flat and invisible on the reverse side.

So, when I was visiting Rowan at the mill in Holmfirth last month I asked Martin Storey what was meant by ‘slip stitch’ and he showed me his finished afghan and the slip stitch used to sew the squares together. Below is a photo that I took while sewing two of my squares together based on Martin’s instructions.

SlipStitch2_s

Here’s how: using the tail of yarn left over from the cast on/cast off, insert the needle into the loop of the purl stitch on the edge of one square and then in the purl loop of the corresponding purl stitch on the square you are joining. Continue in this way all along the edge of the two squares until joined. It should leave a flat and invisible seam which also looks great on the reverse (see photo below).

SlipStitchReverse_s

Before you sew them together, don’t forget to block all your squares so that they are exactly the same size and nice and flat. Find below a link to a video which explains how to block and why you should.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmq72_5J99g

PWWCompPic

Here’s what the lovely people at Rowan have to say:

We’re so amazed at seeing all the people who have joined us in making the Pure Wool Worsted Afghan.
To say a massive “thank you” we are running a competition, where you have to share a picture of your finished Afghan to enter.
There will be 5 winners from Facebook and the categories are:
· Most colourful/creative colourway
· Best location of photographed afghan
· Best prop used in photograph
· Best adaptation of Afghan
· Best supporting yarn store

Don’t worry, your photography doesn’t have to be amazing, it’s just a bit of fun!

The winner for each category will receive:
A complimentary Rowan Subscription package
Pack of NEW yarn Brushed Fleece
Brushed Fleece NEW brochure
Simple Shapes – Pure Wool Worsted brochure (signed by Martin Storey)
The Pure Wool Worsted Collection brochure (signed by Martin Storey)

To enter….

On Ravelry – simply post a picture on the new thread on Ravelry:

http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/rowan-yarns/2980236/1-25

and start your post with the category you want to enter. Entries will only be considered which are posted in the Competition thread.

On Facebook – Simply post a picture on the Rowan Facebook page post titled **Pure Wool Worsted Mystery Afghan COMPETITION**(click “reply” to post your entry) and start your post with the category you want to enter. If you are a retailer, please state your yarn shop name. Entries will only be considered which are posted as a reply to the original Competition post. Here’s the link to the Rowan Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rowan-Yarns/114826272423

If the Pure Wool Worsted Mystery Afghan COMPETITION is not at the top of the page scroll down to find the competition post.

Terms
All entries to be received by 31st July 2014.
All entries to have used Pure Wool Worsted yarn.
You have to post separately for each category you want to enter.
Affiliated Rowan staff and Ambassadors are not eligible for entry.

Good luck, and once again thank you for joining in our KAL.x

This competition only opened today, Tuesday 22 July. You have just over a week to finish making up and take a photo and get posting!

If you do not want to enter the competition but would still like to show me a picture of your finished afghan you can send me a picture here or post on my Facebook page called What Colours Make. Here’s the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/WhatColoursMake?ref=hl

And,  while you are there, it would be great if you could ‘like’ my page too!

If you have any comments you would like to share with my other readers about sewing together your afghan squares or any knitted garment or about entering the Mystery Afghan KAL competition here’s how: click on the Leave a reply link found below at the bottom of this post or click here, and when the new page opens scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive notification of new blog posts please click here to subscribe.

Good Luck with your photos!

New Yarns and Designs from Rowan: Autumn Winter 2014/15

On my very enjoyable visit to the Rowan Mill last month I learnt many things about how a luxury yarn company like Rowan operate from season to season. One fundamental process of their work is to produce new yarns to reflect the ever changing trends of the world of fashion. This process is not some kind of half-hearted or hurried procedure but a carefully researched and considered approach to produce the desired yarn quality in the most appropriate shades.

For the Autumn Winter 2014/15 season Rowan have added a collection of five new yarns reflecting a trend in “simplicity and quiet modernity”; classic but also creative and original. Here’s my survey of each of these new yarns……….

Rowan Finest

RowanFinest

Rowan Finest is a luxury blend of wool, cashmere and royal alpaca. It is amazingly soft and incredibly lightweight with a great palette of both strong and subtle colours.

RowanFinestShades

Rowan Finest Shade Card

It knits to a standard 4 ply tension so you can use it to knit any pattern that requires a 4 ply yarn. However, Rowan has also produced a brochure to accompany Rowan Finest containing fourteen elegant designs by Sarah Hatton created with a modern feminine feel which are perfectly suited to this soft classic yarn. The collection features neat cardigans, sweaters and gloves with great colourwork and cables and knitting in the round. Here are some of my favourites……

Gloria

Gloria

Lillian

Lillian

Myrna

Myrna

Una

Una

Big Wool Colour

BigWoolColr

Big Wool Colour is a fantastic addition to the Big Wool family. This bright and fun yarn is an easy and quick knit; projects can be completed in a matter of hours and is also great for the beginner knitter. It knits to the same tension as Big Wool and so knits to all Big Wool patterns which makes this yarn ideal for adding colour to any Big Wool garment.

BigWoolColourShadeCard

Big Wool Colour Shade Card

To go with Big Wool Colour is the brochure Big Wool Colour Collection designed by Lisa Richardson. Ranging from cowls, scarfs, hats and caplets all the way through to warm and cosy sweaters and cardigans, this collection shows Lisa’s signature style for unusual fastenings and interesting stitch techniques. Here are some of my favorites……

Jitterbug

Jitterbug

Charleston

Charleston

Waltz

Waltz

Salsa

Salsa

Brushed Fleece

BrushedFleece

Brushed Fleece is a super soft blend of extra fine merino wool and baby alpaca. It is a quick knit chunky yarn and is indeed super soft to the touch and incredibly light. When I picked up a big ball of Brushed Fleece it was as light as a feather; you get all the chunkiness but none of the weight with this yarn. It creates a lightweight fabric which shows cables and textures beautifully. The yarn has a soft marl colour effect and is available in 12 shades.

BrushedFleeceShadeCard

Brushed Fleece Shade Card

The Brushed Fleece brochure to accompany this yarn is a collection of beautifully soft and featherweight knits for both men and women all designed by Martin Storey. These knits are all extremely light and cosy to wear. The 16 piece collection features cocooning wraps and shrugs, voluminous capes, sweater dresses and classic long and cropped cardigans. I have 7 balls of this yarn in the lovely pink colour Grotto; I would love knit the 3/4 sleeve cardigan Esk…….I think I may make it a bit longer though. Here’s a look at that cardigan and a few others from the collection……..

Esk

Esk

Fleet

Fleet

Katerine

Katerine

Fazed Tweed

FzedTweed

Fazed Tweed is a mix of wool and fine alpaca with a filled tube-like construction. When you see a ball of Fazed Tweed in your local yarn store don’t be put off by it’s appearance…..it looks like the yarn itself is wrapped in a network of loose threads; these just seem to disappear altogether when knitted up! This yarn produces a lightweight and soft blended tweedy fabric with a fluffy aura. It knits up on 6mm needles so is a fairly quick knit which is always great for novice knitters but everyone else as well! I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn; it creates a great looking fabric. I used the shade Oak while I was at the Rowan Mill to design a coatigan…….lets hope Kate and Marie at Rowan like it. Here’s all the 10 shades………

Fazed Tweed Shade Card

Fazed Tweed Shade Card

The Fazed Tweed brochure contains 16 garments and accessories designed by Marie Wallin. Cardigans, sweaters, wraps and hats display a range of aran, cable and tweed stitches through to colourful stripes and colour blocking. Here’s a look at a few of the designs……..

Sinead

Sinead

Aoife

Aoife

Elva Beanie

Elva Beanie

 Fur

Rowan Fur is made from wool with a little polyamide to bind it. It knits to create a soft fluffy fur texture and comes in four natural shades.

Fur Shade Card

Fur Shade Card

Fur is a huge trend for the Autumn Winter season and is a great yarn for knitting toys, homeware, accessories and trims like collars and cuffs and small gilets. When I was at Rowan I tried on this gilet called Helter (pictured below) knitted with Rowan Fur in the shade Panda; I love it!

Esther in Fur Gilet

The Big Accessories brochure includes this gilet and 14 other designs using Rowan Fur but also Thick ‘n Thin, Tumble and Alpaca Chunky. Here’s another two of my favourites using Rowan Fur from the hats, scarves, cowls and capes for men and women designed by Marie Wallin, Martin Storey, Lisa Richardson, Gemma Atkinson and Sarah Hatton.

Bandit

Bandit

Bandit2

Bandit showed over the head

Teacup

Teacup

Mohair Haze

MohairHaze

Rowan Mohair Haze is a premium versatile yarn that suits many projects, It is a gorgeous delicate looking yarn which is both warm and light to wear and is so incredibly soft…….softer than soft….with a beautiful fluffy aura. I have already knitted with this yarn, in fact I doubled it up as I was using it to design a tunic sweater knitted with Pure Wool Worsted, and I loved it. The colour palette is sophisticated soft pastels mixed together with highlights of jewelled brights. I have four balls in the blue colour Tumble; not sure what I will make with it yet? Here are all the 16 shades…….

Mohair Haze Shade CardMohair Haze can also be used for all Rowan patterns using Angora Haze however for every 1 ball of Angora Haze you will need approximately 1.5 balls of Mohair Haze. Here’s a some of the designs from the Angora Haze collection that I would love to have the time to knit up in Mohair Haze………..

Brigitte

Brigitte

Rita

 

Shirley

 

Sophia

Sophia

Now for things to Click on!

Rowan website: new yarns

Rowan website: latest brochures

I would love to know if you have seen any of the new yarns and what you think. Also, what would you like to knit or crochet from the new brochures and if you have any ideas or comments you would like to leave for me and my other readers. Here’s how to leave a comment: click on the Leave a reply link found below at the bottom of this post or click here, and when the new page opens scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box..

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Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

Rowan Mill Visit and New Yarns Autumn 2014

I’ve just got back from visiting Rowan at their Mill in Holmfirth. What a dream come true this was for me! I had such a wonderful time meeting 13 of the 14 Rowan Ambassadors plus the wonderful and amazing Karl Hallam, Rowan Graphic Designer Web and Print, who is our point of contact, looking after us from afar and also while we were at the Mill. Karl is responsible for all of Rowan website and Facebook content that you see so he has an added handful looking after the very demanding Rowan Ambassadors.

KarlRowanDoor

I was so excited to walk through these doors! From the left: Karl Hallam and Rowan Ambassadors Konrad, Violeta and Linda.

WelcomeAmbassadors

What a lovely welcome for us!

I also met the lovely Kate Buller, Rowan brand manager, who gave us a tour of the Mill along with Rowan’s history. Some of this history is very familiar to me as I have been a Rowan fan since around 1980 when I used to work at the Marble Arch end of Oxford Street and walk down to John Lewis to buy my Rowan yarn after squeezing every ball. Kate had laid out a copy of all the very precious 56 Rowan Magazines and we had to pick the one which was out the time we came upon Rowan. To be honest I think I knew Rowan before they brought out their first magazine, but I think I may have given away my age now!

RowanMags

56 Rowan Magazine’s

We then had several meetings and presentations with Karl and Kate and David MacLeod, Rowan Design & Publications Manager, discussing many things to do with our role as Rowan Ambassadors and looking at all the new yarns and designs for Autumn/Winter 2014/15.

RowanDesigners

What a great group of designers! From the left: Martin Storey, Marie Wallin, Lisa Richardson, Sarah Hatton, Gemma Atkinson and Kate Buller.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Gemma Atkinson, Assistant Designer for Rowan, who has also been coordinating the Martin Storey Mystery Afghan project so I have been sharing your feedback with her and also with Kate and David. So, feel assured all your comments are heard and considered.

LindaDayanaAfghan

Linda and Dayana with their finished Martin Storey Afghan’s

The most exciting part was getting to take a look and feel at the new yarns coming out for the upcoming A/W 2014/2015 season: Big Wool Colour, Brushed Fleece, Fazed Tweed, Fur, Mohair Haze and Rowan Finest. We squeezed every ball of yarn, studied the shade cards and oo’d and ah’ed at the many designs that we saw knitted up, trying several of them on. I must admit I absolutely loved them all and will post my findings very soon! Here’s a peak at them all………

BigWoolColr

BrushedFleece

FzedTweed

Fur

RowanFinest

MohairHaze

The second and third day was spent in the delightful company of three of my favourite designers, freelance designers Sarah Hatton and Martin Storey, and Lisa Richardson, Rowan Designer and Pattern Editor.  I was also honoured to meet Rowan head designer, Marie Wallin, who delivered a presentation of our design brief for the A/W 2014/15 season.  We were all so excited with the design proposal and began immediately, speeding away with heads down, sketching out ideas and swatching. Lisa, Martin and Sarah gave us lots of help as they wandered around and chatted to us as we worked away. We had to present our designs at 3pm on the third day to Kate, Karl, Lisa, Martin and Sarah so we had to work really hard and fast to get something on paper and knitted up; I found myself knitting some swatches until 1:20 am the following morning! The designers normally have 5 weeks to complete this process but we only had a day and a half! All the designs turned out really well; hopefully you will see mine and the other Ambassador’s design in an online collection soon!

IMG_0500 me Presenting

Here I am on the left with Lisa Richardson presenting one of my designs using Pure Wool Worsted and Mohair Haze.

IMG_0501 me Pres2

Here I am presenting my second design using Fazed Tweed with Lisa Richardson and Sarah Hatton.

I had a great time talking to them all on a one to one basis; I couldn’t have imagined that they would be any nicer than they turned out to be!

Everyone

All the Rowan team together! Back row from left: Martin, Gemma, Ute, Cindi, Karl, Anne. Middle row from left: Maria, Anja, Marie, Lisa, Sarah, Kate, Claire, Esther (Me). Front row from left: Konrad, Kristen, Dayana, Linda, Sarah, Violeta.

At 4 o’clock we began to clear our belongings away, sad that we only had an hour to go, when in comes a very special cake and champagne to toast us on our way!

cake

What a fantastic few days we had! I can’t thank Rowan enough for making us all feel so very welcome and looking after us as if we were Royalty! If you ever get a chance to take one of Rowan’s workshops at their mill in Holmfirth, Yorkshire, UK you surely will not be disappointed.

The town of Holmfirth is beautiful with lots of shops, restaurants and cafes. We stayed at the Old Bridge Hotel which was fantastic; very comfortable rooms and great breakfasts!

HolmfirthFromMyRoomEarlyMorn

View of Holmfirth from my Hotel bedroom.

I hope I can return to Rowan and Holmfirth one day soon!

I would love to know if you have visited the Rowan Mill and what did you do there? Did you take a workshop? If so, which one and who was it with?

Here’s how to leave a comment: click on the Leave a reply link found below at the bottom of this post or click here, and when the new page opens scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box..

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Happy Knitting and Crocheting!

Knitting Projects for Upcoming Trip to Rowan Mill

This weekend I am getting ready to go to the UK to visit Rowan Yarns at their mill in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire for a few days. As you may know, if you have read my ‘About’ page, I am one of 14 Rowan Ambassadors chosen by Rowan from all around the world because of our love for all things Rowan and our blogs and social media presence. Having used Rowan yarns almost exclusively for years and admired this brand and their designers from afar I am just dizzy with excitement with the prospect of walking through the door of the Rowan Mill along with the other Ambassadors, none of whom I have met yet……..just too much excitement!

It looks like it will be a busy but fun few days as Rowan have set a very interesting and engaging agenda for us. We will learn about the process of yarn selection and attend a Designer Workshop led by Marie Wallin on how designers go through the process of following a brief, conceptualising designs, sketching ideas, making swatches, pattern writing, design selection process, finalizing garments and photographing the finished product. We will also learn how well we have been doing as Rowan Ambassadors and enjoy a bus tour around Holmfirth which not only includes a journey around the film locations used in the filming of the world record breaking BBC comedy “The Last of The Summer Wine” but also incorporates some of the most beautiful scenery found in the foothills of the Yorkshire Pennines. 

As I never go anywhere without my knitting I am using this post to decide what to take with me. I will probably not have much time to knit when I am at the mill but I will have lots of time on the plane and train journey.

I have finished all my Mystery Afghan knit-a-long squares and I’m just about to start the cable trim so I will bring that with me. Don’t forget to check the Rowan website this week for the making up instructions.

PWWcableTrimPic

Before I started the afghan KAL I was in the middle of knitting up Lorne in Pure Linen in a lovely red/pink shade called Arabian. Here it is…….in process……

LorneInArabian

And here’s what it will look like when I’ve finished……………

Lorne

Lorne, a drop stitch cardigan designed by Lisa Richardson shown here in the shade Colorado.

I would love to get back into my Pure Linen cardigan as I was enjoying knitting with this yarn made with 100% natural linen. The knitted fabric was developing a beautiful drape and the soft sheen of the yarn was giving the shade different color dimensions in the light. I really want to finish it soon as this yarn is ideal for light weight and elegant summer knits, that are easy and cooling to wear. In fact, I went a bit crazy and bought some more Pure Linen as I wanted to make Tamarara in white pictured below.

Tamamara

I also have a ball of Rowan’s new yarn Chenille in the shade Deep Sea (758) that I have been longing to use. Chenille is a 100% cotton yarn available in a 50 gram ball which feels so soft and squishy to the touch and will look great knitted up using cable and textured stitches. There are 12 jewel like colors to choose from making it ideal for color work or mixing with other Rowan yarns but will make very warm and cuddly garments knitted by itself.

There is also an accompanying pattern book, also called Chenille, featuring 12 designs including shrugs and wraps, cardigans and sweaters from Marie Wallin, Martin Storey, Lisa Richardson, Sarah Hatton and Gemma Atkinson. I’ve picked out three of my favorites……..

Moleskin2Moleskin by Sarah Hatton, knitted using Cardinal, a fantastic striking red shade.

Velvet

Velvet by Martin Storey, knitted using this gorgeous purple shade, Mulberry.

Serge Wrap

Serge Wrap by Sarah Hatton, knitted using the shade Winter White.

I definitely will take my ball of Chenille with some Kidsilk Haze on my journey and see what I come up with………………….

ChenilleKSH

I also have some Original Denim, another new yarn from Rowan……well, actually a re-released yarn as some of you may remember it from a few years ago. Denim is a cotton yarn which behaves like denim fabric; shrinking on its first wash with the color fading  slightly over time. It is available in two traditional blue denim shades.

Denim Colours

There is an Original Denim online pattern collection featuring ten designs using this unique yarn and a book titled ‘Denim: The Next Generation’ which I am lucky enough to own. Here is a group shot showing all the designs.

DenimGroupShot

I have promised that I will knit Breton Stripe, the sweater that Martin Storey (far left) designed and is wearing, for my husband. I think I will wait until I get home to start this project as I have far too much knitting come along for the ride already!

Now for things to Click on!

Click on the links below if you would like to view:-

My ‘About’ page

The Mystery Afghan KAL Cable Trim Pattern

All Mystery Afghan Patterns and Instructions

The Pure Linen Collection

The Chenille Pattern Brochure

The Original Denim Online Collection

Denim: The Next Generation

Please let me know if you have ever visited the Rowan Mill and if you did, did you take a workshop and if yes which one and who with……I would love to know!  Or are you going away too and taking some knitting or crochet project with you? What are you working on?Here’s how to leave a comment: click on the Leave a reply link found below at the bottom of this post or click here, and when the new page opens scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive notification of new blog post containing information like the above please click here to subscribe.

If you would like to share pictures of what you are working on at the moment or any finished projects please visit my What Colours Make Facebook page and post pictures and comments and like if you like!

Happy Knitting and Crocheting and I’ll tell you all about my visit to Rowan when I return!

Rowan Video Distractions for A/W 2014/15

I am getting a bit behind on my Mystery Afghan squares so today I thought I had better knuckle down and get on with finishing off the last few…..well…actually I have about 11 squares still to complete!

So, I am trying to concentrate on the week 8 pattern when those lovely Rowan people sent me a message saying that they’ve uploaded some new videos to their You Tube channel containing new designs for Autumn Winter 2014/15. Well, I just can’t resist having a quick look…..that’s the end of knitting squares for a while.

Week8

Anyway, I’ve just watched the video for Rowan’s Magazine 56 – Autumn Winter 2014/15 which previews their designs showcasing three stories to reflect these major trends for the upcoming season: Wilderness, Craftwork and Essentials. If you do manage to go and take a look, watch out for two of their new yarns, Chenille and Mohair Haze. I think I’m going to love these yarns both knitted on their own and also combined together. I can’t wait to get my hands on them!

I’ve also watched the Fazed Tweed Collection: 16 designs for women in another new yarn from Rowan. It’s a blend of Merino Wool and Alpaca creating a hazy tweedy fabric. If you like cables, lace stitches and subtle color blocking you will love this collection.

There are quite a few other videos which are being uploaded at the moment and will be available to watch soon: Simple Shapes Lima; Simple Shapes Fine Art Aran; Rowan Finest; Brushed Fleece; Big Wool Colour Collection; Big Accessories; and Pure Wool Worsted Mystery Afghan Knit-a-long Week 9 Cable Trim. Also, for those of you knitting the Mystery Afghan KAL, the pattern for the cable trim is available now on the Rowan website to download.

If you would like to watch the new videos click on the link below:

Rowan Yarns You Tube Channel

But do not wait too long as they are only going to be available to watch over the weekend. How on earth am I expected to concentrate on my squares with these tempting videos!

Squares

Please do let me know what you think of the Rowan videos and if any of the new designs catch your eye by leaving a comment below. Here’s how: click on the Leave a reply link found below at the bottom of this post or click here, and when the new page opens scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Leave a Reply’ box.

Thanks so much for reading my blog. If you would like to receive notification of new blog post containing information like the above please click here to subscribe.

Happy Knitting and Crocheting!