Unveiling my Veil

I’ve been knitting up a storm lately in preparation for the summer shows and  have gotten a bit behind with sharing. My most recent FO is the stunning Veil of Leithen shawl by talented designer Renee Callahan, otherwise known as EastLondonKnit:

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I knit this beauty up in less than one skein my new, delicious yak blend BEYUL in colourway Yurt  – which I still haven’t had time to announce properly, but will get around to it in the next few weeks…I promise!

This summer shawl is a lovely top down mesh which finishes in a subtle lace edging knit on all at once.

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A mix of the softest yak down, silk, and superwash Merino this blend is just perfect for this delicate shawl. You can see the delicate yak down halo and subtle lustre on the yarn in the photo below!

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Renee is currently hosting a KAL with prizes in the Unwind group Ravelry page so you can join in there to win and see FOs.  You can also wear your Veil of Leithen at Unwind Brighton on the 12th/13th July for a chance of winning a prize at the show!

Stones and Stripes revisited. Darkly.

Do you ever make something and then wish you’d chosen a different colour? I’ve decided this could, possibly, be one of the coolest things about having a studio filled with yarn dye…endless overdyeing options!

I’ve blogged previously on the gloriousness of the Stones and Stripes shawl, which was knit up in Islington ‘Light Squirrelly‘ – a shimmering light taupe. Here is another picture of it, a before-and-after of unblocked to blocked:

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I have been wearing this around quite happily for more than a month and getting many compliments, but when it comes right down to it had to admit it just wasn’t great for my olive skin tone. The light hue was just washing me out!

In a fit of impulse I decided I would pop the shawl into a bath of my charcoal ‘Old Smoke‘ colourway. I have been desperately craving something in this colour but have had NO time to knit myself something…so time for a quick fix!

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I am so glad I did and can barely keep myself from wearing it before Unwind Brighton in July. The only thing that is keeping me from it is the thought of blocking it all again in 2 weeks for the show! Hands off for now…right?

Waterlily unveiled

I haven’t had any time at all as I prepare for Wonderwool next weekend to take an official shot of my finished Waterlily, but had a friend take a quick phone pick at the shop the other day so you all could see it is done in time for the show!

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Waterlily by Meghan Fernandes in ISLINGTON Vestige
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It is truly beautiful, if I do say so myself. I actually sighed with joy as I slid it on the first time…it feels divine! ;-D

I am previewing a few new Islington autumn colourways at the show next week if any of you are planning to attend. Hoping you can let me know what you think.

See you there!

Blue skys and a little Folded

Some of you might have caught vague references to my holiday a couple of weeks ago. My partner and I decided we deserved a real holiday so booked a much needed break for our anniversary in Paphos, Cyprus. As it is only about 4 hours away it seemed the perfect treat for a quick sunshine getaway!

My days were filled with beautiful sunshine and I spent most afternoons knitting with this glorious view:

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Nothing beats brilliant shades of blue skies and sea in warm sunshine to shake off the winter blues! Though we fit in some unintentionally long mountain bike rides the first couple of days (!), the rest of the break was spent calmly laying about – something I haven’t had the chance to do in what feels like years! Naps in the afternoons …bliss. I really needed that after the crazy year I’ve had, and it felt good to force myself to stop for a few days.

I realised one day as I put on my Folded for  a ride that I STILL hadn’t gotten any FO shots of it, so hopped off the bike and got contemplative in front of an enormous cactus!

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I’ve been wearing this at least once week for the last four months since I finished it and love it’s simplicity. It is warm but not too warm and just perfect for a slightly chilly spring/summer day, but also breathes and is naturally anti-bacterial to keep you smelling fresh even after a bike ride (and not like a sailor in the sun. No offence to sailors, but they work hard. heh)! Did I mention LOVE?

The small only took 2 skeins of Kensington– BFL/silk/cashmere – and I knit the sleeves top down until I ran out of yarn. I literally had a meters length left when I bound off! Perfect.

I’ve sold out of most of this scrumptious blend at the moment but there are 5 skeins of Blighty so you could do a silver one… or use the last skein of Ansdell – light aqua/grey – alternated with the Blighty for a gorgeously subtle striped version! Just sayin. ;-D

It has just started lashing it down outside and I am coping by trying to picture myself back here:

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Sigh.

Boreal recapped

Just realised I never managed a blog recap of this jumper before xmas, so here it is belately. In the end I actually did get my Boreal sweater done in time for the holidays, which surprised me a bit.

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I have to be honest, it isn’t perfect…there are a few areas of colourwork that are a bit lumpier than I would have hoped for but as the problematic upper sleeves loosened up after the first wear I can’t really complain. For my first full size fair isle attempt – and one with some really long floats, I think I’ve done alright.

I am particularly pleased with the colour combo as I managed to get just the right tones of red and grey in the BANFF Aran to have the colours zing off each other a bit!

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I spent ages trying to take good selfies one afternoon and this one came out in the mix, which I really love, so including it as well:

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I love how the red looks rather Rorschach blot-ish!

Onwards to Falkland!

**Just a note that this is the last weekend for the special Purlside special 15% discount. If you are not seeing a colour you like, or something has run out, email me and I can always dye it up for you on a custom order!

I have been paying a lot more attention to fashion runways than I have for decades lately. I don’t plan on following fashion colours religiously in the dye pot, but it is fun to see what is out at the moment and use it for inspiration. Here are some runway pairings I made with Falkland – 80% Merino/20% Bamboo – another fully tested and hard wearing (but deliciously soft) blend!

Caramel yellow – a variation on mustard what I like to call the ‘new neutral’!
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Maria Grachvogel — FALKLAND, Peanut Brittle

Well known for its remarkable spongy loft, British Falklands merino is dense and highly insulating while still light enough for wraps and shawls, with a downy, powdery handle perfect for the most sensitive skins.
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Peanut Brittle

A mere 20% bamboo adds strength, a soft organic lustre to the dye quality and a gentle drape for beautiful garments or accessories.The resulting fabric is hardwearing, low pilling and butter soft for next to skin wear. Bamboo’s additional natural anti-bacterial and moisture wicking properties make this the perfect fibre blend for both summer and winter knitting, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in winter by removing moisture next to the skin!

On blocking the stitches plump up and create the fullest, most even fabric…this is one of my favourite blends, resulting in immensely wearable garments with the added benefit of being superwash – so ideal for baby garments.

Emerald accents with camel (I am loving the trend of bright accents with classic camel tones.  Darwin green would made an amazing bright shawl/scarf to wear with a camel coat!):
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Burberry — FALKLAND 80% Merino/20% Bamboo – Darwin

And very much OFF catwalk and on a much more day to day level ….also in ‘Darwin’ green…
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Me! In my newly finished Amelie. I truly ❤ this one…and another pleasure to knit by Gudrun. I know I have said this before, but credit where credit’s due – her patterns are such a joy to knit!

I made the sleeves longer as we are already freezing here in London, and even managed to get the decreases for my sway back right this time. I shortened the stitches across the back and made a few more decreases than the front. Perfect!

(Though my partner insists on taking the back photos top-down and making me look like a Linebacker!!! Eeesh) ;-P
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I wore this out last weekend and didn’t realise I’d forgotten to cut the yarn I’d woven in on the ties…but no one mentioned it and I was around a bunch of knitters, so just hoping no one noticed.

The Falkland yarn is SO cozy and warm. I even had to fend off a fellow Yarn Crawler who couldn’t stop petting me as she loved the feel of the yarn! I’d say that’s a ringing endorsement for how it feels! hah.

(You know who you are, groper.)  ;-B

I am off to Yorkshire this weekend, so shipping will be a little delayed and will resume Tuesday.

Happy knitting, all, and if you see me at Yarndale, please come say hello…!

Relax

I am a little behind in blogging my projects as am powering through with dyeing and getting the shop set up – nearly there – but am trying to catch up on the posts now!

I had Relax finished in time for our trip to Hastings a while ago now and figured we would find some interesting photoshoot backdrops as the place is so picturesque in a run down, weathered kind of way (which I love), so we took the camera out early one morning and came across the old Pier at low tide.  I could have stayed down there all day, it was so gorgeous! All barnacles, rust and blue sky peeking out of the grid-like struts. It was like living in a (good) drawing with all the perspective lines around us!

Unfortunately we had only been shooting for a couple of minutes before my old Lumix battery died! 7 years old, I think the battery has seen its last as it is no longer holding a full charge. I nearly had a fit from the frustration! Hiss! Grrr!

When I got home and loaded up the pictures I saw that we did manage to get a couple of decent shots which were usable. Thankfully.
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I found this pattern a gentle meditative knit, which was a pleasant surprise. It is clear, easy and well-written – thank you Ririko!

I only made a couple of mods, one of which was unintentional! Instead of doing 1×1 garter rib for the hem and sleeves I did 1×1 rib as I misread the directions and missed the alternating knit row at the hem! A bit of a shame, as I really like this detail on the original, but hey ho…such is life (actually I am not sure this is called garter rib, but that is what it would look like – a bar of knit stitches and then a bar of garter.)

I didn’t change needle sizes, and just used the same 3.5mm for everything. Oh, and of course I used a Bias Bind Off on the front neck, as mentioned previously. I flipped the body inside out after knitting it in the round (I still can’t convince myself of the need for seaming, especially in fingering weight yarn) and knit the sleeves stockinette for a subtle contrast. I love how the reverse stockinette looks in this semi-solid yarn and it knit up so evenly I didn’t even block this before wearing! I just gave it a light steam on the ribbing and was ready to go. This was a first for me…this yarn is a star!

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Fingers crossed, I will be getting skeins of this BFL/Silk up in the shop for the end of the week and will let you all know when it is live! Exciting.

Oh, and out of sheer stubbornness I turned the camera back on again later in the day, hoping to be able to document the crazy, grubby alley we found behind the old, abandoned Hastings and St Leonards Observer building…and it worked! Here is another picture of me WITH head making one of my funny faces.

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I had to try the lock…wouldn’t you? 😉

ps. What do you think of the new banner? Better, no?

A little summer Relax

Started Ririko’s Relax the other day in a beautiful BFL/Silk I am testing.

I’ve been wanting to do this one for ages, but kept putting it off in order to get other projects done then decided this silvery yarn is so perfect for this pattern that I must have it NOW!

This yarn was a bit of a pleasant surprise. I’d initially earmarked it as ‘scarf/shawl’ knitting as it felt a little delicate to me with the high content of silk and I thought it wouldn’t wear very well.

How wrong was I? The BFL in this makes it a workhorse! It is super strong – takes a huge effort to break the 4ply strand – and performed exceptionallly well in my wear tests with only minimal abrasion fuzzing. And the best thing? It shaves absolutely clean with no matting or damage to the fibres beneath and after a few shaves stops fuzzing at all. A real winner. Here it is below AFTER testing and with no re-blocking or shaping whatsoever.

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As new as after its virgin blocking, with no warping at all! The blend creates a light, airy, slightly ‘dry’ feeling fabric perfect for lighter knits like this pattern.

I’d initially felt that the enormous expanses of stockinette were a bit daunting, but am finding it the perfect summer garden knitting in this yarn! Look at how far I got over the weekend:
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Not bad, eh?

I am having a dilemma that occurs to me quite a bit, though. I keep looking at the reverse (purl) side and thinking I like it better than the RS.Kettle_Yarn_Co_relax

Am currently thinking of reversing the body and having stockinette sleeves for a little contrast. Sounds good, no? Slightly ‘Humanoid‘. YUM.

Humanoid ‘flowers’ cardigan

Tassels and tea

Well the day finally came…the last stitch of my Cammomile. I stretched it out for as long as I could but really did need a light summer scarf, so it was time.

I had to wait for a few days until ‘Mr. Purl’ could be convinced to take a few half-hearted snaps on a scorching hot day, but finally got around to it this weekend!
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I think I made the body a touch too long as I just didn’t want to stop, but I think it will be perfect in the autumn when the weather drops. Kettle_Yarn_Co_camomile13
And it works perfectly across the body like a sontag, below, so I can play dress-up! (makes me feel a bit like I should be saying ‘y’all’ and wearing petticoats, which suits me fine right now as working through Justified and True Blood, so all up in the Southern thang!)
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I was dreading making the tassels a bit, but they turned out to be quite easy in the end. I made them a bit longer than most of the others I have seen (used my mini Moleskine notebooks to wind around) and then added some grey seed pearls I’ve had stored away for years in my jewellery supplies as they matched perfectly with their ‘oil on water’ purple/pink/grey sheen, for a bit of subtle bling.
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I am still not so sure about the tassels in terms of function, though, as they are constantly being caught on things. I have already had to shorten the strand as they were driving me nuts the first day I wore it, but might try sewing the tassel directly to the lace and see if that helps. Otherwise they might be coming off!

One little glitch with my yarn combo, which I absolutely adore- BFL/Baby Alpaca in the pink and Camel/Silk in the deep grey – I am not thrilled with the supplier for the BFL/Baby Alpaca, so hope to find another mill that either carries or can spin it for me. It is a lovely yarn but the service is just ‘meh’, which doesn’t thrill me! Fingers crossed I can find a substitute, though I might have to wait on this for future – too many other bases to decide on at the present and HEAPS more testing to go!

Getting things up and running with Kettle Yarn Co. seems to be stretching out longer and longer as I find yet more things I need to work out before going live. It is taking FOREVER (especially for someone with no patience what-so-ever. heh.).

Entering a new age

Welcome to the temporary new look for the blog.

I wanted to finally get a right side bar so that I could add a new feature – my new Twitter feed! I have finally caved and joined the conversation, so if you have an account join me for a chat. It is a bit of a learning curve, so forgive my little faux-pas…I am still trying to work it all out!

I guess this is a bit of a soft launch for the new company name as well – Kettle Yarn Co.! I will be moving the blog over to my shop site eventually, when I finally find the right WordPress platform, so if anyone knows of any good ones, please let me know. I have been searching for months now!

On the knit front, I have been getting on with a million things and have been neglecting to post images of my finished Buttercup. To be honest, I am a little underwhelmed with it after all the ribbing troubles, and still not completely pleased with how the ribbing looks or feels. This has nothing to do with the pattern which was clearly written and easy – the fault was all in my own mods and the superwash BFL I used, which is just a little too limp/lifeless in the end. I suspect a coated superwash process is used on this base, and I definitely won’t be carrying it!Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup4

I do like the way this colour turned out though. Very subtle change in tones.Kettle_Yarn_Co_buttercup_glacier

Looks great in the lace as well, which I modified to omit the purl rows in the Old Shale stitch. This variation on the stitch always feels a bit more delicate and less fussy to me.Kettle_Yarn_Co_Old_Shale

But the ribbing?
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Definitely still the weakest link, and still looks a mess. sigh.

Hey ho. Onwards and upwards, as they say.