Cuddly Cardigan in Brushed Fleece

A couple of weeks ago I was writing about the new Spring and Summer 2015 yarns and designs looking out at a cold snowy landscape; this week I’m writing about Esk, a cardigan in Brushed Fleece designed by Martin Storey sitting in hot sunshine…….well I am in San Diego……although the photo’s were taken a week ago in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

My Esk Buttoned side Front View

If you are a regular reader of my posts you’ll have noticed that I tend to knit cardigans. This is because I live in Colorado where the temperature can fluctuate vastly in one day: -10°C to 20°C (14°F to 68°F). A cardigan allows me to layer and button-up when it is cold in the morning and then unbutton when it gets a bit warmer during the day but still need my arms covered or take off completely without messing up my hair……yes…I am vain!

You may recall from a previous post that while I visited Rowan Mill last year I tried on Martin Storey’s Esk. Here I am in Esk at the Mill……..

Esk on Me at Rowan Mill2

I loved the shade (Grotto 257) and the feel of the Brushed Fleece yarn but was not sure that the short length suited me. I asked some of my fellow ambassadors and they said I should make it longer, so I did.

My Esk Back View2

 The original design from the Brushed Fleece brochure, looks like this………

Esk

Esk by Martin Story

Would love to have knitted it with short sleeves also but I think they looked better with the short body length.

Not only did I make Esk longer but I also shaped it very slightly at the waist. I didn’t do this by decreasing and the increasing stitches but by gradually using smaller needles from a 6mm to 5.5mm to 5mm at the smallest part of my waist and then gradually back up to a 6mm. It worked really well and you can’t see a change in the needle size in the knitted fabric.

My Esk Open Front View

My Esk Back View

Brushed Fleece knits up to a very cuddly fabric. It is very light and lofty and so soft next to the skin. This is not surprising as consists of 65% extra fine merino wool, 30% baby alpaca and 5% polyamide. I just love that baby alpaca! It gives the yarn it’s soft and lofty quality. It is warm to wear but not excessively so which makes it great to wear on it’s own or to layer for extra warmth. I think my Esk cardigan will come in handy during the winter/spring weather transition.

The stitch that Martin Storey used for Esk is quite an interesting one and gives a lovely texture to the cardigan, making a stitch pattern that looks far more complicated than it really is. Here’s a closer look………

Esk Closeup

The stitch is created by inserting the right hand needle through the middle of a group of four stitches knit wise and pulling a larger than normal loop through, knitting the four stitches and then ‘casting-off’ the large stitch over these four stitches, in effect, wrapping the stitches. It makes it look a bit like cable from a distance. The wrapping of the stitches ‘pulls in’ the group of four stitches giving them a rippled effect. It is also incredibly easy to do and memorize which makes it a very quick especially as it is knitted on 6mm (10 US) needles. I completed my cardigan in about three weeks but would have been so much quicker if I wasn’t so busy with all the other things going on in my life. Wouldn’t it be nice to knit all day everyday without interruptions!

There are lots of other designs available using Brushed Fleece. Maybe you would prefer to knit a long-line cardigan like this one called Heart designed by Kim Hargreaves in her book titled North.

Heart North KH-1

Or this one called Drab, also by Kim Hargreaves from her book North. Not drab at all!

Drab North KH

Or, like me, you’d love to cuddle up in this oversized v-neck sweater called Cosy, also designed by Kim Hargreaves and in another of her books titled Still…………

Cosy

Or maybe you’d prefer something more fitted like this slipped rib stitch sweater called Neath from the Brushed Fleece brochure designed by Martin Storey………..

Neath

How about a really quick knit like this striped scarf with pom pom trim called Muddy from the book North designed by Kim Hargreaves using Brushed Fleece and Fur.

Muddy

Or this rib sweater called Trent from the Brushed Fleece brochure again designed by Martin Storey. It has a funnel neck and raglan full length sleeves and is suitable for the beginner knitter. I think this would look great on my husband, Neil.

Trent

And you can choose from these 12 shades……….

BrushedFleeceShadeCard

If you would like to read another post where I mention Brushed Fleece, the yarn Fur and other designs click here.

Maybe you have already knitted something using Brushed Fleece? I would love to know what you made and if you made any changes to the design. Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post; it’s great to share your techniques and ideas with me and my other readers!

Click on the links below to see all the designs from the brochures mentioned in this post.

North

Still

Brushed Fleece Brochure

And if you would like to go directly to my post about the new Spring/Summer 2015 yarns and designs, click here.

I try to post images of my latest knitting projects on my What Colours Make Facebook page. Click What Colours Make to take you there. If you do take a look….while you are there please “Like” my page if you like it!

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Happy knitting!

Love my Big Wool Coloured!

Ever since I saw the cardigan Jitterbug designed by Lisa Richardson from the Big Wool Colour Collection I have been dying to make it and now here it is …….. finished!

My Jitterbug Front Hugging

Jitterbug is knitted using alternating stripes of two rows of Big Wool and two rows of Big Wool Colour. It was super quick to knit as it is knitted on big needles: 9mm (US 13) and 10mm (US 15). I managed to finish it in two weeks!

The original design, pictured below, was knitted using the shades Vert (Big Wool) and Carnival (Big Wool Colour) which I did like very much but I wanted something less greeny and more blue.

Jitterbug

So I chose the shades Steel Blue and Fairground. Here’s a close-up of my two shades knitted up………

My Jitterbug CloseupSometimes it can be perplexing choosing different colour combinations. You might just have small snippets on a shade card which you cannot place side by side to see how they interact with one another. It is slightly easier if you have a local yarn shop which stocks all the shades; you can then hold two balls next to each other and even place them up to your face and look in a mirror to see how the overall colour looks against your skin. I only had a shade card so this is what I did. I chose the Big Wool shade first as I saw this as the background colour. I narrowed it down to Blue Velvet and Steel Blue.

Big Wool Shades

Rowan Big Wool Shades

I then looked for a Big Wool Colour shade that would stand out but also harmonize rather than clash with these two blues.

BigWoolColourShadeCard

Rowan Big Wool Shades

Carnival and Jamboree were out straight away: too much green and too much grey, respectively. Fete and Waltzer were out too as they were very purple but may well have worked quite well. Carousel had lots of blue through it and would harmonize well with the two blues but then would the striping stand out or get lost? That’s why I went for Fairground. It was overall a blue-red shade so would harmonize well with the blues. As it is on the dark side I chose the lighter Steel Blue shade to allow a contrast in tone to help the stripes stand out. Well, I am really happy with the result and love my Jitterbug!

My Jitterbug Front 2

Jitterbug is more than just a cardigan; it is like a cross between a cardigan and a knitted jacket. It is easy to wear with just a camisole underneath like I have done in the photos but I also wore it with a thicker top and it felt lovely and cosy! I love the neck line too; it is more open rather than close up around my neck which doesn’t really suit me. I also chose to add 6 different buttons in a pink-plummy shade, which you might be able to see in the picture below, just to make it even more unique!

My Jitterbug Full Front 2

And here’s a couple more photos of me and Jitterbug skimming stones across the Snake River in Jackson Hole, Wyoming………

My Jitterbug Back 2

My Jitterbug side viewIf you would like to knit something using Big Wool Colour take a look and some of my favourites from the Big Wool Colour Collection.

This scarf called Fandango will be very quick to knit up……..

Fandango

Love this sweater called Cancan ……..

Cancan

You can also go to an earlier post of mine which includes more pictures of Big Wool Colour designs …… please click here to read that post.

I have got some Big Wool and Big Wool Colour left over from Jitterbug and another project and I have had my eye on this felted slipper-bootie pattern called Sula which I would love to make one day………

Sula Slippers

Designed by Sarah Hatton and using Big Wool this slipper pattern can be customised to your hearts content. You could add creative embroidery or crochet trims or pom poms, buttons or bells, whatever you feel like!! I will definitely add some Big Wool Colour!

Have you knitted something using Big Wool Colour? I would love to know what you made and if you had a colour choice quandary and how you solved it. Please share your colour dilemma with me and my other readers by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post….thank you!

If you would like to see all the designs from the Big Wool Colour Collection by Lisa Richardson please on the brochure’s cover image below.

Big Wool ColourCver

If you would like a copy of the free slipper pattern click on the link below and it will take you to the Rowan website.

Free Sula Slippers Pattern

If you are a member login to the Row@n Members page or register to become a Row@n Member…..it’s free to join! You can only download free patterns if you are a Row@n Member and are logged in.

I try to post images of my latest knitting projects on my What Colours Make facebook page. Click What Colours Make to take you there. If you do take a look….while you are there please “Like” my page if you like it! Thanks!

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!

New Yarns Spring/Summer 2015 + Shade Card Giveaway

Although I am looking out at a snowy landscape while surrounded by partially knitted chunky wool garments I am checking out the new yarns and designs from Rowan for the 2015 Spring/Summer season. Yes…….I am already planning what I would like to knit in the next few months, scrutinizing the photos and poring over the Rowan Spring Summer 2015 Shade card to find that special little top or cardigan in the right colour. If you would like a chance to win a shade card, which consists of actual yarn snippets so you can see the real shade of every yarn, read on.

I’ll start with my favourite collection: Cotton Lustre.

CottonLusterCover

Cotton Lustre, front cover featuring ‘Ran’, textured cardigan

I love this collection because there are so many designs that I would love to knit. Not a surprise to me when I see who designed them, Sarah Hatton….. I just love her creations! The garments are quick to knit on 6mm (US 10) needles, which is unusual for summer knitting, and feature 13 simple seamless sleeve sweaters, vests and textured cardigans. I like all of them but my top 7 are these………

Hana

Hana

Hinata

Hinata

Kaneshon

Kaneshon

Yuri

Yuri

 

Botan

Botan

Kiku

Kiku

Riko, V-front

Riko, V-front

Riko, V-front back view

Riko, V-front back view

Riko, V-back front view

Riko, V-back front view

Riko V-back

Riko V-back

I am definitely going to knit one of these and it is probably going to be Riko; I love that I can wear it V-front or V-back!

Cotton Lustre yarn itself is a tape-style yarn, which is very popular again this season.

CottonLustreyarnball-1

Cotton Lustre in shade Marigold 377

It is a blend of  55% cotton (55%), modal (35%) and linen (10%) which gives it an amazingly soft feel and beautiful drape when knitted and comes in 10 shades with the lighter ones having more of an obvious sheen.

Cotton Lustre Shades

Cotton Lustre Shades

Below is a photo of one of my balls of Cotton Lustre; you can really see that wonderful sheen.

CottonLustreBallPink

Cotton Lustre in shade Marjoram 373

The second new yarn and new collection of designs is another tape yarn with a knitted construction called Tetra Cotton.

TetraCottonYarnball

Tetra Cotton in shade Iseo 001

Each shade is made up of four colours, some harmonizing and some contrasting, to create an interesting palette of eight.

TetraCottonShades

This 100% cotton yarn has fantastic pattern support as it is also interchangeable with Truesilk and Cotton Glace!

My favourite design from the Tetra Cotton collection is Nilgiri, pictured below. It is worked in one piece, beginning at the left cuff, using 4mm (US 6) knitting needles. I also love the blue shade it is shown in, Como 007, being a collection of a dark blue, a mid blue, a pink and a pale grey blue.

Nilgiri

Nilgiri

These 12 designs for men and women are generally relaxed with open work stitch details making them great for summer layering……….

Sencha

Sencha

Darjeeling

Darjeeling

Oolong

Oolong

Chai

Chai

Lastly, we have Summerlite 4ply made from 100% of the finest cotton creating an extremely soft matt yarn.

Summerlite 4ply in shade Pinched Pink 426

Summerlite 4ply in shade Pinched Pink 426

It comes in a summer tonal palette of 12 shades.

SummerliteShades

To accompany this new yarn, Martin Storey has designed a collection of 12 delicate and feminine sweaters, wrap around tops and cardigans. Using 3mm (US 2-3) knitting needles, these cable and lace designs will not be as quick a knit as the previous two but they are quite beautiful. Here’s some of my choices………..

Amandier

Amandier

Hellebore

Hellebore

Hortensia

Hortensia

This is so cute…………..

Jonquille

Jonquille

Rubia

Rubia

I am definitely going to use Summerlite 4ply in the next few months so watch out for news about the upcoming project!

If you would like to see all the designs from the brochures mentioned in this post please click on these links……..

Cotton Lustre

Cotton Tetra

Summerlite 4ply

If you would like a chance to be entered into the draw to win a Rowan Spring Summer 2015 Shade Card which consists of snippets of all Rowans yarns so you can see all the shades and feel the yarn, this is what you need to do.

1. Subscribe to this blog. Please click here to subscribe. This allows me to email you if you are a winner. And………………

2. Let me know why you would like to win a Rowan Shade Card by leaving a comment below or by going to my Facebook page “What Colours Make” and leaving a comment underneath the post “Rowan Shade Card Giveaway”. If you “like” my Facebook page that would be nice too……but only if you do like it!

The above competition was closed on Sunday 15th February 2015 at 4pm US Mountain Time (11pm GMT).

Watch out for more giveaways in the coming months!

Soft and Silky Mohair Haze

Hurrah! I’ve finally finished knitting Brigitte with Mohair Haze! But I must stress that it’s not the pattern’s fault that it took so long; just life getting in the way, as it does for all of us now and again!

Brigitte_FinishedIn fact the pattern is quite easy to memorize; you just have to pay attention to the first row of the 20 row pattern repeat and then you’re off! The yarn is lovely to work with and actually quite easy to frog if you make a mistake. I thought it would be a bit like Kidsilk Haze where you can get in a real tangle when the fluffy fibres knot together. Of course, you still need to be relatively careful when you come to the end of each row; this is where the fibres are more likely to knot together if you’re ripping back row after row. I think it is less likely to knot as Mohair Haze is actually a very soft and silky yarn; making a knot in the yarn when sewing the pieces together was often difficult as it would easily slip undone.

Not only is Mohair Haze a soft and silky yarn it also feels soft and silky next to the skin; it does not feel scratchy or itchy at all. In reality, it feels very similar to Angora Haze, the yarn Mohair Haze was made to replace. It does shed fibres too but not nearly as much as angora yarns, which I absolutely dislike! I am hoping this will get a little less after it’s first wash.

You’ll notice that I had to make my Brigitte cardigan a little longer than in the original below………

Brigitte2

Brigitte, designed by Martin Storey

I knitted an extra 40 rows approximately in the length of the body as I have a long torso. I always dread this because I have to work out new buttonhole placements but, due to the construction of this design, you have to do this anyway. By this I mean that the button band is knitted in rib separately and then slipped stitch on afterwards, stretching the button band very slightly as you do so. Then you sew on the buttons and knit the button hole band making the buttonholes to match the position of the buttons. This actually was the trickiest part of the pattern as knowing how much to stretch the bands as I sewed them on to the garment took me a couple of times to perfect. Anyway, I got there in the end and was happy with my 7 little blue-tinged shell buttons. Here’s a close-up of the buttonhole band and you can just about see the little blue transparent glass beads.

Brigitte_close_up_s

Now that I have knitted with Mohair Haze and I like how it feels…..not too warm but just right……I am going to save up my pennies and knit the design Karolin by Lisa Richardson pictured below.

Karolin

However, I may not get around to it until next winter as my knitting project list is at least 6 garments long at the moment. The pattern for Karolin can be found in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine Number 56 and also in the magazine Knitting, front cover picture below.

KnittingMagIssue136 Dec 2014

However, if you want to knit something a little simpler using Mohair Haze how about Stanza by Sarah Hatton………….

Stanza

Stanza by Sarah Hatton featured in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine Number 56

Or Birgit by Sarah Hatton……………

Birgit

Birbit by Sarah Hatton featured in Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine Number 56

Or Rita, pictured below, designed by Martin Storey and featured in the Angora Haze brochure.

Rita

Rita by Martin Storey featured in the Angora Haze brochure

All the patterns featured in the Angora Haze brochure can be knitted in Mohair Haze, just like I did with my short-sleeved cardigan Brigitte. You just need more yarn: for every 1 ball of Angora Haze you will need approximately 1.5 balls of Mohair Haze.

Have you knitted with Mohair Haze yet? I’d love to know if you have or if you are going to and what do you think? Please share with me and my readers by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.

I have written two previous posts about knitting with Mohair Haze and how I chose and threaded the beads onto the yarn; click on the links below if you would like to read these posts.

Mohair Haze Dilemma

Knitting With Beads: Understanding Sizes

If you would like to see all the designs from the brochures mentioned in this post please click on these links……..

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56

Angora Haze

Also, find a link below to Knitting magazine, Issue 136 Dec-14 which features Lisa Richardson’s Karolin design……….

Knitting

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 fluffy knitting!

Knitting with Beads: Understanding Sizes

I’m still working on Brigitte, the little Mohair Haze cardigan designed by Martin Storey. Unfortunately, life got in the way and I have got a little behind but hope to finish it soon. This is what it is looking like so far.

Brigitte_Back Progress

You may remember from my last post that I was wondering whether or not to include the beads but I thought why not! You can just about see them if you look closely….nice and subtle which is the look I was hoping for.

I did have some transparent blue glass seed beads, as I love making jewellry, but they turned out to be too small. When I threaded them onto the yarn and pushed them along I felt that I would tear all the fluffy fibres off the yarn. So, I needed to work out what size these beads were as I had no idea; I just bought them because I like blue and they looked pretty.

Beads are sold in many places but I found the best place to be the bead stores. I do not remember there being any near me when I lived in the UK but there are several here in Colorado. Before I went I had to get my head around the way they size beads. Seed beads are sized in aughts and written like this: 8/0, 6/0. A size 8/0 bead measured about 3.7 millimeters. How the ‘aught’ sizing came about is a bit of a mystery but the most popular school of thought states that the size (8/0) refers to the number of seed beads per inch (8 beads per inch). Another sizing theory is that the size is based on the rod used to make the beads. The larger the number, the smaller the bead (15/0 is small, 6/0 is large). See chart below………

bead size Chart2

I measured my beads and they were about a 10/0 as they were around 2mm in diameter. So, as I needed a bead with a bigger hole for the yarn, I surmised that 8/0s or 6/0s might work. I took a ball of the yarn with me and placed the different bead sizes next to the yarn. The 6/0 was way to large for such a delicate yarn so I went for the 8/0 and bought 2 strands for $4 in total. Bargain!

The pattern instructions say to place all the beads on before you start knitting but obviously not all on one ball. So before I threaded them on I worked out how many I would need per ball: 320 for the total cardigan divided by 7 balls of yarn. Then I thought I would divide the beads by 6 as the ribbing is quite deep and may take almost a full ball. Therefore 53 approximately beads per ball.

These are the instructions from the Brigitte pattern on how to thread the beads: Thread a fine sewing needle (one that will easily pass through the beads) with sewing thread. Knot ends of the thread together and then pass the end of yarn through this loop. Thread a bead onto sewing needle and pass along sewing thread and then gently slide it along onto knitting yarn. See my pictures to help you visualize the process……..

Bead threading_ABead threading_B

You can see that the beads I am using are quite small and transparent but you could go bigger or choose a colour that stands out more against the colour of the yarn.

Anyway, if you are thinking of adding beads to a knitting I hope I have helped you a little with the bead sizing. If you have got any beads and beading tips that you would like to share with me and my other readers please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

If you would like to see all the designs from the Angora Haze brochure which includes the pattern Brigitte please click on the link below.

Angora Haze

 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 beaded knitting!

Mohair Haze Dilemma

I am about to start my next knitting project and will be using Mohair Haze in the shade Tumble ….love this colour!

MohairHazeI have 11 balls, so bearing that in mind while I was deciding what to knit, I’ve been looking through all the designs that use Mohair Haze. There are so many to choose from! So far I like:

Honesty

Honesty, from the book North by designer Kim Hargreaves

Stanza

Stanza designed by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Knitting and Crochet Magazine 56

Fara - Angora Haze

Fara, from the book Storm by designer Kim Hargreaves

Neat Cardigan

Neat Cardigan, designed by Sarah Hatton, from the book Designer Knits

Kitten

Kitten, from the book Smoulder by designer Kim Hargreaves

Rita

Rita designed by Martin Storey, from the Angora Haze brochure

Brigitte

Brigitte designed by Martin Storey from the Angora Haze brochure

The truth is I want to knit them all but I think I will go with Brigitte as it is a design that I have had my eye on for quite a while, although I need to make it a bit longer. I am still not sure if I will add the beads? I have some pretty light blue beads that I could use which will give a subtle jewelled effect making the cardigan perfect for this time of year with December around the corner. Adding beads and sparkles transforms an ordinary garment into something a little more glamorous especially with shades of black, white and strong jewel tones and Mohair Haze has these shades to choose from including some pretty pastel ones too………..

Mohair Haze Shade CardRowan Mohair Haze is beautiful high quality yarn that can be used for many projects: cardigans, sweater, hats and scarves. It can also be used for all Rowan patterns using Angora Haze, which is what I will be doing, however for every 1 ball of Angora Haze you will need approximately 1.5 balls of Mohair Haze. It consists of 30% wool and 70% Mohair and has a lovely fluffy aura and feel. Although it is incredibly light it will be warm to wear.  I have knitted a swatch (recommended knitting needle size 2-3 US, 3 mm) and found it is easy to knit with despite it’s fluffiness. I thought frogging might be an issue but the knitting rips back surprisingly easily; the little fluffy fibres don’t seem to tangle together at all!

If I have any yarn left I would love to make these……..

Judy Gloves

Judy Gloves, designed by Martin Storey from the Angora Haze brochure

Maybe you have already knitted something using Mohair Haze? I would love to know your thoughts; please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

If you would like to see and read about my progress with Brigitte and Mohair Haze I will be posting images and updates on my Facebook page What Colours Make and while you are there please “Like” my page if you like it! Thanks!

If you would like to see all the designs from the brochures mentioned in this post please click on the links below.

North

Smoulder

Rowan Knitting & Crochet Magazine 56

Angora Haze

Designer Knits

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 fluffy knitting!

Neil’s Two Blues Sweater

I must confess, I am quite a selfish knitter; I usually only knit for myself. In the past I have knitted a few scarves and given them away as Christmas presents and designed a couple of sweaters, one of which was for my husband Neil. It’s not that I don’t like to knit for other’s I just have too many designs lined up that I want to knit for myself and besides my husband never asks me to knit him anything. Well that was until he saw the sweater Breton Stripe in the pattern collection from Rowan called ‘Denim The Next Generation’. Here it is below on the left modeled by the designer of these seven garments, Martin Storey.

DenimGroupShot

What caught his eye was the alternating stripes of Rowan Original Denim in two shades of blue. Neil loves anything with stripes of blue because it reminds him of his childhood local football team Bishop Auckland Football Club in County Durham whose nickname is ‘The Two Blues’. So, a request was made for Breton Stripe and I lined it up behind a couple of others projects I had on the go.

Before you start knitting with Original Denim you must read all the tension information, making up and washing instructions. This yarn is designed to shrink in length (not width) after the first wash in 60-70 C after you have sewn up the shoulders and attached any neck or button band but before you have sewn together anything else. Sounds scary………….only a little!. The pattern instructions are written with the shrinkage formulated into the design so if the pattern measurements fit your body shape you need not worry a jot. However, if you do want to make the sleeves or the body longer you will need to do some calculations to make sure it shrinks to the desired length after washing. I had to do this as Neil is 6ft tall so longer body and sleeves was definitely needed. To complicate matters he also requested a v-neck; he doesn’t like round necks. I don’t see why he shouldn’t change the design….I’m always doing it. So here is Neil in his Breton Stripe sweater and ……….he really loves it!

NeilBretonStripe1

Original Denim was released earlier this year however, it is not strictly a new yarn; it was around years ago and formerly known as Denim. Alas, Rowan was forced to discontinue it when there were problems surrounding the yarn’s production which caused quite a few moans and groans from knitters as it was a very popular yarn. Then sometime last year the original manufacturer was again able to re-create the original Denim yarn, hence the name.

Before I began to knit with Original Denim I asked Neil for a similar sweater, one in which he likes the general fit and body and sleeve length. I generally do this so I can compare sizes as I go along. This was also important in working out the finished length after washing and shrinking has occurred. I then began to swatch to make sure my tension was OK and then got going on the actual sweater.

The yarn was fairly soft to knit with and makes great even stitches. It’s not a slippery cotton yarn and looks and feels very much like you would imagine a yarn made from denim would look and feel. As Rowan Original Denim is designed to fade and age just like a pair of jeans, it does have quite a lot of surface dye which will mostly come out in the first wash. However, while knitting, your hands and nails will turn blue, especially with the navy shade. This does not permanently stain your hands and will wash off with soap and water and a nail brush. As a precaution, you may want to protect your clothing and any light coloured furniture while knitting. I must admit I was pleased when I was ready to give the sweater pieces it’s first 60 – 70 C wash so I would no longer have blue hands after touching it but I was also desperate to see what it would look like after it shrinks. Well, I was delighted! All the stitches were just as neat but had tightened up beautifully and the knitted fabric was even softer than before!

O Denim Stitch Def

Rowan Original Denim has great pattern support including cardigans, guernseys and denim shirt styles for all the family and accessories including bags, place mats and cushions……the list is endless.

I have a copy of the pattern book, Denim, the Next Generation by Martin Storey to give away. If you would like to enter all you have to do is subscribe to my blog and leave a comment below. And……. if you would like to double your chance of winning become a follower of my Facebook page What Colours Make and leave a comment under the picture of my husband Neil in his Breton Stripe sweater, that will enter you a twice! This competition is now closed and the winner was chosen at 4pm US Mountain Time which is 11pm UK time on Sunday 16th November 2014. And the winner is Pam Robertshaw……….Congratulations Pam! Thanks to everyone who entered here and on my Facebook page.

If you would like to view the Original Denim designs, click on the links below:-

Denim The Next Generation

Denim People

Original Denim Online Collection

NeilBretonStripe3

Reversible Cosy Cable Cowl Pattern

I had to travel back home to the UK recently to visit my mum who hasn’t been very well and wanted to take something small to knit on the plane. I had two balls of Rowan Fazed Tweed and thought that if I added one or two more balls I could make a cosy cable cowl……you know, the ones you wrap around your neck twice, also called an infinity scarf. One week later this is what I had come up with…..

Cozy Cable Cowl Doubled s

Or maybe I could wear it long, like this………

Cowl Long

My cowl feels lovely and soft, cuddly and warm around my neck. And the reason it feels so soft is because Fazed Tweed contains alpaca, a fibre that I find is very comfortable next to the skin but also warm and lofty. Fazed Tweed also contains wool, in fact it consists of 72% wool,  22% alpaca and 6% polyamide. The polyamide part is a special net-like tube that holds the blended fibres together. You can see it in the picture below but when the yarn is knitted it becomes less obvious and almost disappears.

Fazed Tweed Ball Elm 008

Fazed Tweed shown in the shade Elm (008)

It is fairly easy to knit with and a relatively quick knit too on the recommended needle size of 6mm (US 10). However, if you have to frog for any reason it is a little tricky as it is a fluffy yarn and all the fluffy fibres lock together; just pull gently and slowly rather than tugging at the yarn vivaciously if you have to rip it back.

The two balls I already had were in the lovely purple shade Sycamore (003) and when I got to the UK I popped into John Lewis and bought two more balls in a slightly lighter purply-pink shade called Maple (001). I thought these two shades would go well together using the darker shade on the cast on and cast off edges.

Fazed Tweed Sycamore and Maple

Fazed Tweed: Sycamore (left) and Maple (right)

In designing my cowl I first considered the stitch pattern; I knew I wanted cables but I also wanted it to be reversible. So I opted for a ribbed cable on a moss stitch background taking 8 stitches each (a repeat pattern of 16 stitches). I then decided on the size of the finished circumference and width. I worked out the number of stitches I would need to cast on if I knitted it in the round with the cable/moss stitch pattern I had settled on and how many rounds I would need to attain the width. So, all I needed to do then was to knit it up!

You could of course chose to make it in just one colour or maybe four different ones. Here’s all the Fazed Tweed shades…………….

Fazed Tweed Shades

Rowan also have a pattern book to accompany this yarn, also called Fazed Tweed, containing 16 patterns for women all designed by Marie Wallin.

Fazed Tweed Front Cover

Choose from hats and scarves to cardigans and sweaters all knitted using cable and tweed stitches and colour blocking. I would love to knit Sinead, a reversed stocking stitch and cable cardigan……….

Sinead

Or maybe Aideen, a round necked cardigan with lace panels up the front and garter stitch raglan sleeves and body……………….

Aideen

I love Orla too……..would look great also if you knitted it a little longer………………

Orla

Maybe you have already knitted something using Fazed Tweed; I would love to know your thoughts; please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

The pattern for my Cosy Cable Cowl is available on Ravelry and Loveknitting along with my other designs.

Cowl hands up s

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To view the full Fazed Tweed collection as a movie click here

 Happy knitting!

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

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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 Website

Kaffe KAL Information Video

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.