Friday, 23 December 2016

Yarns We Love: Hemp Tweed

Rowan Hemp Tweed caught my eye the moment we unpacked our first delivery of it over a year ago. It was unlike any other wool I had seen before. It is a wool that seems a bit odd in description but in reality is soft to the touch, gorgeous to the eyes, and truly delightful to work with.

Hemp Tweed has a slight sheen to it, which is something you don’t typically see in a tweed wool. But the sheen and tweed effect combine perfectly in each different shade to create a uniquely textured appearance that has a stunning effect in knitted and crocheted pieces.

Hemp Tweed is 75% wool and 25% hemp. If you are unfamiliar with hemp as a fibre, then here is a little interesting information for you. Hemp is a plant that is believed to have been one of the first plants spun into a usable fibre over 10,000 years ago. Hemp fibre has since been used consistently throughout history for products such as fabric, rope, and canvas. It has a long history of being an incredibly sturdy and durable material.

So all that basically means that Rowan Hemp Tweed is combining everything you love about wool with the added bonus of a durable (and wearable!) hemp fibre. Rowan Hemp Tweed gives excellent stitch definition and it has elasticity without losing its shape over time.

Hemp fibre is also an incredibly breathable material, similar in that respect to linen. When combined with wool it is an excellent temperature regulator. When its cold, it will keep you warm, and on those slightly warmer days it will stay cool. Last Christmas, I knit my dad a hat in Hemp Tweed and he claims he finally has the perfect winter beanie. As a man who positively detests getting over-heated (and can usually manage to do so, even in bitterly cold Ohio winters) he said he has really enjoyed a hat that can keep his ears warm but still allows his head to feel like it can breathe.

If you can’t tell how excited I am about Hemp Tweed so far, just wait, there is more. This fall Rowan has released the new Hemp Tweed Chunky. Original Hemp Tweed is approximately Aran weight. Hemp Tweed Chunky shares all the same gorgeous properties of its thinner counterpart, but it is a thicker wool. Perfect for plush cowls and cozy garments. I definitely think I will be treating myself to a knitted snood in Hemp Tweed Chunky this winter.

Post by Leah in our Edinburgh shop

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Yarns We Love: Patons Merino Extrafine

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Patons Merino Extrafine DK: feeling the love

You know which yarn is great? The Patons Extrafine range. When it first came in to the shop, I thought to myself that it was just another pure wool, what’s the hype?  Well! It swiftly became one of my favourite yarns. It has a fantastic range of colours, it comes in a 4 Ply, a DK, an Aran and a Chunky, and it has a fantastic texture.

I first bought it for my Fiance's jumper. I chose it because it is machine washable and can be tumble dried… I may not trust him with the laundry… he may have ruined my handknit alpaca jumper (ahem) but that’s not the point - it’s pure wool and easy to wash!
I have found a yarn I trust, and have started another couple of projects in it, including some weaving - turns out it’s also good for that!

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Merino Extrafine DK looks great in weaving!

The texture is so smooth I didn't have to worry about itchiness at all, so I believe this would be a great yarn for the wee ones as well. If you look at a normal yarn, it will usually have several strands plied together; if you look at the Extrafine, each strand has already been plied, then plied again, which makes it so smooth.

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‘Bibi’ from Kim Hargreaves’ Honey, knitted by Emma in Patons Merino Extrafine DK shade 151

Post by Emma in our Stirling branch

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Top Tips For Travel Knitting

Being an American in Scotland means I end up travelling long distances multiple times a year. And, because of this, I’ve become quite accustomed to carrying my latest knitting along with me for the journey. I also frequently get asked by customers in the shop how I go about knitting on the go without facing the headache of dropped stitches or airport security guards. So I decided to write this blog post compiling my top tips for making your holiday knits as stress-free as possible.

1. Use wooden or bamboo needles

Wooden and Bamboo needles don’t trigger the metal sensors at airports and are also a lighter weight option for taking around in a carry-on. My personal favorite are the Knit Pro Symfonie rosewood needles.

2. Use circular needles, even if you are knitting straight

Travelling usually entails long journeys in tight quarters. By knitting on circular needles, you save a lot of space and you avoid your needles jutting out into your seat mates’ territory. Also, circular needles are great on the go because they can be easily folded and you run a much smaller risk of losing any stitches off the end.

3. Consider interchangeable needles

When I travel, I use circular needles that are interchangeable. The Knit Pro interchangeable needles are great because they allow me to have a range of needles and cable size combinations without having to carry a different set for every possible need. Also, in the terrifying instance that a security guard at the airport does demand you hand over your needles, you can simply unscrew the tips and at least save your project.

4. Choose a yarn and a project that is not too fiddly

You will be a much happier knitter if you take a nice stocking stitch pattern along with you. There is nothing more likely to make a knitter pull their hair out than trying to untangle a complicated lace design on a 7 hour flight! On my most recent travels, I took a long a stocking stitch cardigan that I was working up in Rowan Lima. Lima is one of my favorite yarns so it kept me interested, and the simple cardigan design was easy enough to work on during 4 crowded flights overseas, a few long car rides, and a handful of lazy days in my grandmother’s living room.

5. As hard as it may be, don’t take too much yarn with you

If you have any inkling that you may have a full suitcase coming home from a trip, try not to over pack your yarn. I made the amateur mistake this summer of taking an entire 9 balls of Rowan Superfine Merino DK with me to Ohio. I thought I would have plenty of time to start my second project of course! Oh was I wrong. I didn’t even touch my second project. And because of my short-sightedness, I had to leave my lovely wool in Ohio, awaiting my return at Christmas!

Post by Leah in our Edinburgh shop