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

Friday, 1 July 2016

Recent FOs

Over the past couple of months, our staff have been busy finishing off projects so we thought we'd share them with you here.

Left: Oshima from Magazine 59, Right: Emma's modified version

Emma in our Stirling shop made this gorgeous crochet top in Sirdar Cotton 4 Ply shade 524. 
"After looking for a nice lacy crochet top for summer I found this in the latest Rowan Magazine. After doing the main design of the front and back I made a few tweaks; shortening the rib, getting rid of the sleeves and changing the neck edging. Just what I was looking for. Don't be afraid of changing a pattern! 
PS. It only took two and a half balls of the Sirdar Cotton 4 Ply!"

My proudest knitting accomplishment was this yoked sweater, knitted in Rowan Creative Focus Worsted:

This was such a quick project and I really enjoyed making it. It's designed to be knitted in one piece, from the bottom up. I knitted the body first but then I was so excited to get started on the colourwork that I decided to postpone the sleeves and knit the yoke first. I worked a provisional cast-on at the top of the sleeves, knitted the yoke, then picked up the sleeve stitches and knitted them top down.  
The Creative Focus is incredibly warm and I love having sweater that matches my hair!

Fionnuala in our Stirling shop has recently completed these two lovely projects:

"As the weather was so horrible for my day off, I finished a couple of garments. The child's duffle cardigan was knit in Hayfield Chunky Tweed, shade 182, from Hayfield pattern 4486. It is for my German friends' new baby; they are coming to Scotland for my wedding and I thought the child might need a warm jacket!

The other one is an edge to edge cardigan. Having knit it last September, I  just finished sewing it up. It is knit using Rowan Pure Silk, shade 159 Rose, which we have on offer on the website. The pattern is Sublime pattern 6085, which is also in booklet 667The stitch in the main body was simple but effective.
Now my dilemma is what to do next. For the first time in a while I have nothing on the needles!"

And finally, we were so happy to see that Leah from the Edinburgh shop has finally finished her Nordic mittens!

Leah's Nordic mittens in Rowan Pure Wool 4 Ply

These mittens were knitted in Rowan Pure Wool 4 Ply, shades 412 and 455, and Leah adapted the pattern to include her friend's initials and wedding date. The blue and cream shades look beautiful together and the strong contrast between the shades allows all the details in the colourwork to be visible.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Ideas For Fathers' Day

Fathers' Day is fast approaching, so we wanted to share with you our top 5 gift ideas. Whether your Dad can’t put his knitting down or relies on you for all his socks, we've got you covered.

1. For the father who has everything

From toilet roll pencil pots to macaroni covered Christmas decorations, you probably used to hand make all your gifts so why stop now?
With one 100g ball of Arne & Carlos yarn making a pair of socks, this is the ideal gift for anyone.


2. For the father interested in history

Knitting for Tommy is a must-have addition to any amateur historian or knitter's book case. Published to coincide with the centenary of the First World War, it tells the story of those who knitted for the troops. It includes patterns, posters and copies of the adverts used to encourage people to knit for the front-line soldiers.


3. For those who have a jumper for every occasion

Novelty Knits is the fantastic collection of jumpers compiled by Gyles & Saethryd Brandreth with, quite literally, one to suit every person and occasion. It really is the perfect Father’s Day gift.


4. For those for whom a plain blue jumper will do every occasion...

... This collection might be more suitable. Dutch Traditional Ganseys by Stella Ruhe contains over 60 traditional designs, accompanied by the stories behind the Gansey tradition that allowed the fisherman to be easily identified to their home town.


5. If in doubt there are always Gift Vouchers

Let him choose the colour combinations that will keep him happy... at least until next year.

Post by Alasdair in our Edinburgh shop