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

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.