British Minis – perfect for socks!

People have been making some great suggestions for the Twist Mini or  British Minis skein pairs! Here is one I have added to my own, ever-growing to do list – a pom pom garland! Super, quick, easy and fun and you could get the whole family involved in this one. Whether you go with traditional:
image from See Sue Stitch
Or just plain FUN:
image from Student Beans
And sticking to the pom theme, for those of you lucky enough to have a pet how about a simple pom pom scarf to get the pooch/cat into the festive mood?
image from the Examiner
For those sock knitters out there, here are some lovely giftable sock patterns:

British Minis pairs now in the shop.

Pairing, pairing and more pairing…

So my mind has been whirring with choices for the Charm knit-a-long (KAL) and I am still undecided on what yarn(s) to knit mine in. I think it is just the issue of an ’embarrassment of riches’ and having way too many choices. ;-?

But as promised the other day, here are yet more yarn pairs to help you if you are having the same problem…

A strand of this warm golden caramel lace Westminster (Cardamom) held with the BFL/Alpaca light fingering would make for a subtly blended yellow . The fabric quality will be beautifully drapey and very warm. I’d finish the edging with the grey but you could try either.
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I have several different shades of yellow dyed up for the update this coming Saturday, and yellow/grey is one of my absolute favourite combos! How about a Kensington mustard yellow (Wells – will be posting this to the shop on Saturday Oct 19th) and an edging in a shimmering Islington grey (Blighty)? The Kensington in the body would be warm and full, while the silky edging would give it a nice finish:

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For all us green lovers holding a strand of spongy Falkland (left) with a strand of lighter Bloosmbury green in the crescent will create a lightly marled effect with a thicker, spongy and warm fabric. You could then edge with either the light green lace or the darker fingering.
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Then a super luxurious option I have been considering for my mother…a large size in Westminster Butternut with an Islington Blighty edging! Super drapey and luxurious to wrap around and around like a big, warm hug!
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I will leave it there for today but will try to get more pairs with the new batch of yarns ready to show you next week! If you missed my past posts on yarn pairing you can see more examples under the ‘yarn pairing’ category. Remember if there is something specific you are after, just email me through the blog and let me know.

Happy planning, all!

The endless joys of yarn pairing

I think most of you know how truly and thoroughly a yarn nerd I am already, so the title of the post should come as no surprise? 😉

Last Monday I showed a few examples of possible yarn pairs for blindingly simple but stunning subtle-y striped shawls like Camomille and Merlot. I got a bit carried away with the process and decided at the last minute that I’d better split the post as my yarn-nerd-ness was getting out of hand!

I’d paired up 2 more, classic grey combos to show you – ‘ColebrookeBFL/Alpaca‘ and then ‘Colebrooke/Dusty Miller‘ – and then realised how different these two shawls would be due to the properties of the yarns being paired and got really excited!
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While the two above look incredibly similar in the skein, the two pairings would create substantially different moods in a shawl!

The BFL/Alpaca combo is more lofty on the right will knit up significantly warmer and ‘fuller’ than the Bloomsbury BFL/Silk, with a sumptuous Alpaca bloom and sponge. It is so warm – even knit as an open lace – that I often find myself overheated with this blend in the mild autumn chill!

In the pairing with Bloomsbury (right) the 80% BFL makes stitches hold a bit more crisply open and the extra silk adds to Westminter’s already substantial drape giving a slightly more dressy (formal/evening wear) feel to the shawl. Both could be worn to dress up last winter’s coat OR over a party dress for a holiday event, but the subtle difference lets you tailor for personality.

You would never think it just looking at the skeins, which look quite similar at first glance, would you?

I first discovered the joys of yarn pairing when knitting Helga Isager’s Nightingale Vest.
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It was amazing how even adding a single thin strand of lace to otherwise rather unpleasant feeling sock yarn transformed the fabric into something much greater than its parts (knitting gestalt)!

Yarn pairing is amazing and opens up a world of possibility in stash busting. Add a strand of another yarn and you can create amazing colour effects like heathering and ombre – like in Antonia Shankland’s Kinetic cowl below which starts with 2 strands of the same colour, moves to two strands of 2 different colours for a gradient, then back to 2 strands of the new colour:

Or even change the drape and handle of a yarn and counteract a less desirable trait by blending to better suit your pattern – create more drape, LESS drape and more structure, or add a fuzzy soft halo for an feminine ‘sweater-girl’ twist.

Fun AND useful!

Weekly update with some pairing fun!

This weeks shop update is LIVE! I moved back to a bit of cool blue/greens as that side of the colour wheel is still very close to my heart. I’ve also gotten some camel/silk lace up this week for those looking to do a little lace knitting (and maybe even starting on those special holiday gifts!).
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From left to right in the banner above:
  1. Westminster lace in ‘Alban‘ – 50% Baby Camel • 50% Silk
  2. Westminster fingering in ‘Light Grovesnor‘ – 50% Baby Camel • 50% Silk
  3. Westminster fingering in ‘Florence‘ – 50% Baby Camel • 50% Silk
As some of you already know, a few months ago I made a Camomille by Helga Isager and have been wearing it to death. It is  the perfect light shawl – large enough to wrap several times around the neck on a cold morning, blissfully super warm from the gorgeous BFL/Alpaca light fingering, but at the same time light enough to fold up small and shove into a bag.

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I have had a few requests for the yarn I used in the shawl and have finally had a chance to dye some up, so these will be going up on the shop this week as well.

I also had a long talk with myself (!) and will be releasing some of the hoarded blush BFL/Alpaca as I used in my version above and have dyed more of the camel/silk lace in charcoal grey, which I’ve named ‘Colebrooke‘. A beautifully dimensional grey, this colour has hints of purple and warm browns up close:
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I thought it might be fun to show some possible pairings for subtle shawl striping. Below are some pink/grey pairings.
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The right hand pair shows the Westminster ‘Colebrooke‘ & blush BFL/Alpaca, ‘Liminal‘,  pair I used in mine, the left is a reverse with ‘Napier‘ – pink/grey/purple- in Westminster lace and a semi solid grey in BFL/Alpaca.

As I was researching images for this post I also came across this stunning image, which at first I assumed was another Camomile…
….but it turns out that Christina’s gorgeous, Camomile-like version is of Elise Dupont’s Merlot crescent shawl pattern (available as a €5 download on Ravelry). Christina has simply striped her solid and variegated yarn above, as opposed to alternating holding the fingering yarn together with the lace, as on Camomile. Any of the yarn pairings I’ve shown here would work for this look.

Though if you prefer,  you could always knit it exactly as Elise designed it, which has beautiful blocks of variegated colour broken up by solid stripes and trim. So pretty!

More paring possibilities, below left, both Westminster – Lace in ‘Colebrooke‘ and fingering in ‘Florence‘ for a more silky/drapey version. On the right another one with ‘Florence‘, but this time with the amazing Bloomsbury silk lace in silver/grey ‘Dusty Miller‘.
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Of course there are many more combos to be made from the yarns in the shop, but I’d best stop here as this has become an epic post! If you have any questions about yarn pairing don’t hesitate to drop me a line.