Shetland, Shetland, Shetland

While the wonderful Shetlander has been smashing the Bousta Beanies I’m still stash-busting. I expected this to be a bit of a slog but actually I’ve been really enjoying looking at what I’ve got and trying to work out what it can turn into.

A year or two ago I was given some lovely grey Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage wool for my birthday (thanks Shetlander!) and it has been waiting to be turned into hand-warmers ever since, but I hadn’t yet found the right pattern. Finally, in the spirit of stash busting I decided I was just going to wing it and see what I could come up with.

I cast on some stitches and started knitting, using a lovely Fair Isle pattern from one of my favourite books Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary Macgregor (again, thanks Shetlander!) to introduce a bit of colour. They started to look a little something like this…

Fair Isle Hand-warmers
Faking it until you make it…or if not quite ‘it’ at least make something.

…I was quite pleased with them but then…game changer, this year’s birthday present from the Shetlander arrived (more thanks!) in the form of Pom Pom Quarterly.

Pom Pom Quarterly
Pom Pom Quarterly

As soon as I saw the pattern on the front I knew things were about to change. I moved my knitting-up-slightly-too-big-but-will-be-fine-if-I-fleece-line-them hand-warmers onto some spare needles and cast on again, this time using the magazine’s Bon Bon pattern by Joji Locatelli 

This pattern has surprised and challenged me; I’ve learned new skills – twisted rib – and it’s required way more concentration that I expected it too. But I’ve also enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I’m really pleased with how it looks now (just about to cast off number one and do it all over again).

In the end I unravelled my first attempt and started again from the very beginning – my initial twisted rib was a bit scrappy and I got confused with the pattern and forgot where I was so I thought it was better to pull it out and have another go. I’m so glad I did, the second attempt has come out much better. My early struggles were, I think, partially to do with having to turn the page in the magazine at crucial knitting points to see the charted pattern. Apparently I’m an impatient knitter and this threw me out of my knitting stride. The solution was to cut the pages out so I could lay them out in front of me, this really helped. I also got strict about ticking off the rows on the pattern as I went along so I didn’t lose my place. A good lesson in not getting complacent while you knit!

Bon Bon
Bon Bon

Helpful Information

Knitting level – strong intermediate
I had never done twisted rib before, at first I found it fiddly but you get used to it and also, it looks great!
Tick off the rows as you go along to help you keep your place in the pattern – I’m not usually strict about this but it really helped me here.
Pattern – Bon Bon pattern by Joji Locatelli
Cast on – long tail, this video from Wool and the Gang is the Shetlander’s favourite which seems appropriate
Cast off – normal keeping to twisted rib


3mm DPNs or circulars – I used (of course!) my favourite Addi DPNs
1 skein DK weight – e.g. Jamieson & Smith Shetland Heritage used here in Silver Grey
5 x stitch markers, trust me they are important
Scrap yarn/stitch holder – I used scrap yarn and think a stitch holder would have got in my way here



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