Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Easy Thrummed Mittens

My favourite new technique of the last year has been learning how to knit with thrums. At the minute, I’m just finishing off a pair of thrummed mittens and they are hands down (!) the cosiest things I have ever knitted.

The inside of the mitten feels soft and fluffy like a sheep!

Thrummed mittens are traditionally knitted in the colder parts of Canada, but they are certainly handy during the chilly half of the Scottish calendar. They are also really straightforward to make. I used a free pattern by Debi Wilbur, called Easy Mittens with Thrums (available through Ravelry) and knitted the pair from one ball of Rowan Pure Wool Superwash Worsted shade 121 Morello. For the thrums, I used some unspun merino tops from my stash, but you could totally get enough thrums for a pair of mittens out of one packet of Clover Felting Wool. One of the most fun parts of this project was deciding which colours to put together - I decided to go for two plain shades, but I’ve seen thrummed projects using multi coloured thrums and they look incredible!

A nice big pile of pre-made thrums

To make a thrum, you will need to pull a length of your felting wool (approximately 15 to 20cm in length), and then pull thin pieces off the side, up to about 5mm wide. Fold this length into a loop. Pinch it together in the middle, then roll your fingers together, so that it stays in an 8 shape.

Pull the thrum through the stitch, along with the working yarn

When it comes to knitting a ‘thrum stitch’, simply lay a thrum across your right-hand needle, just next to the working yarn, and draw it through the stitch, along with the working yarn.

The thrum and the stitch are knitted together as one

On the next round, you will knit the thrum and the stitch together as one (effectively a k2tog).

All the thrum guides I’ve read have pointed out that it is absolutely worth making a lot of thrums at the beginning, so that you don’t have to keep pausing your knitting to make them. This seems like good advice to me - I think I used around 180 thrums per mitten!

Completed Mittens :)

Thrummed mittens were a quick and satisfying project to make - and they're sure to keep my friend's hands warm and toasty whenever she wears them.

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