Verso Hat

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We all have that special wool that you’ve bought, adored and just can’t commit to making into something. What if another pattern you love comes along later? What if you can never get that yarn again? Well, that special wool was made for this pattern.

The wool in question is Organic Shetland Aran by the wonderful Uradale Yarns. I have in fact managed to stash this yarn for so long that it looks like it’s now discontinued! I bought it here in Shetland at a wool week many moons ago and I’m fairly sure the colours are Tormentil (yellow) and Selfheal (pink) but I’ve made a marvellous job of losing the ball bands so I can’t be sure.

Over the years, I’ve knitted (and stashed!) a fair few of their yarns and I would really recommend them. As an islander, I’m always going to be a sucker for a Shetland yarn but this wool has great character, perfect for colour work, and both the natural and dyed shades are absolutely divine.  Personally, I’m also really into the fact that it’s an organic wool and pretty reasonably priced for all that. Their website is also cracking so definitely check them out.

The specialness of the wool demanded a specialness of pattern but for literally years, nothing really caught my eye. Then I saw the Verso hat and I knew what I was meant to do with this yarn. The only issue was that the yarn I had was aran weight and the pattern called for double knitting. Hmm.

Never one to be deterred (or swatch!), I just decided that I would cast on the smallest size of the pattern and hoped that with my big head, it would work out at roughly the right size. I cannot for the life of me mind what size of needles I used for this but I think it could be 4mm or 4.5mm. It was knitted in its entirety using magic loop and I’m pretty happy with the hat, although I don’t think I got the top quite right. Luckily, a big pom pom covers up the slightly dodgy bit!

Would I recommend this cavalier approach to hat making? Yes and no. Yes, because I’ve got a hat I love in a yarn I love and to my mind, although the colour combination is super loud, it’s pretty darn great. No, because my sizing is a bit off due to the yarn weight swap and resulting row gauge change. I’ve basically knit a rather tall hat and that’s fine, because it’ll go slouchy with wear and washing, but it wasn’t entirely my intention.

This pattern isn’t just gorgeous in its design, it’s really well written and any difficulties I had were entirely due to the changes I made. You do need to be able to read a colour work chart but other than that, there’s nothing complicated and I’d say go for it!

Overall, the yarn. The pattern. This hat. Basically, it’s the stuff my more outrageous knitterly dreams are made of.

 

Helpful Information

Pattern – Verso Hat by Bristol Ivy
Modifications – I used aran weight wool instead of the DK the pattern calls for. I knitted the smallest size but I’m definitely not experienced enough yet to give any advice about how to do a conversion between the two yarn weights! I hadn’t anticipated the change in row gauge and that has changed the shape of the hat (basically taller) so maybe keep that in consideration if you’re also thinking to try aran. Or just knit it in DK like a sensible person would.
Cast on – long tail cast on. As ever, this video from Wool and the Gang keeps me right.
Cast off – followed the instructions in the pattern for crown decreases and cast off
Colour dominance – I did a night class with Donna Smith last year and that really got me thinking about colour dominance. This tutorial from Ysolda Teague has a really good explanation and examples about how to work out which colours should be dominant. For this hat, I made the yellow the dominant colour which is probably the reverse of what it should be. I’m pretty happy with the effect though.

Materials

Needles – I can’t remember!
Wool – Organic Shetland Aran from Uradale Yarns in the colours Tormentil (yellow) and Selfheal (pink). I think the Aran has been discontinued but their other yarns are equally great.

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The Londoner #makenine: progress and plans

I agree with The Shetlander, 2017 was a good year making wise (despite the last few months being a bit quiet on the blog…holiday crafting got a bit intense!) and I think focusing on the #makenine early in the year really helped me think about what I wanted to work on. Bonus, I actually stuck to it more than I thought I would!

A reminder: 2017s #makenine

2017 make nine
Photo credits & patterns L-R from top left: 1. Love Knitting’s Obliquo, photo from their website; 2. Baby Weasley Jumper you can find the pattern here. 3. Christmas presents standing-in to represent the mystery make. 4. Tin Can Knit’s  stunning Vivid Blanket, photo from their website; 5 & 6: Mini-Christmas stocking decorations, pattern at Little Cotton Rabbits 7: Shetland lace baby blanket, a very similar pattern available here; 8: I made this helmet cover pattern up and didn’t write it down. I shall work it out when I make the new one! 9: Stash busting monsters – filled with lavender so they also multitask to repel the dreaded moths!

  1. The plan was to make myself something bigger than a hat/wrist warmers that I could wear and also start building a bit of a made-by-me section in my wardrobe. I failed with this one last year but 2018 for sure going to get there.
  2. Weasley Jumper for a friend’s baby, a big ol’ tick. I enjoyed this pattern so much I actually ended up making two and have got two planned for friends this year, one on the needles already!
  3. This didn’t actually feature on the blog as it ended up being a sewing adventure and, by virtue of being a present, was secret until it had been received by the lucky recipient. Anyway, it’s another tick.
  4. Tin Can Knits Vivid Blanket – I completed this one only shortly after the baby it was knitted for arrived (hurrah!). Great pattern which I’d happily make again, possibly in colour next time as my version was white which possibly makes the name a bit of a misnomer!
  5. Christmas decorations…I think I might have a problem with Christmas decorations. I knitted them a lot. A. Lot. They became my go to, not sure what to knit, let’s make another Christmas bauble… At one point I was making one a day. It was definitely bordering on addiction. I shall post pictures of the evidence soon but when I was hooked there was no stopping for anything. It was great, I don’t regret a thing.
  6. As above, seriously I knitted so many two ticks is fair.
  7. I didn’t get around to doing another Shetland lace blanket or even buying the wool for it but again, I feel optimistic that this year could change that.
  8. Fluoro helmet hats were another project that went on the back burner in 2017 but having just put the old ones to use on a trip to France (and wow do they make you easy to spot on the mountain!) am keen to revisit. That being said need to find some more of the fluorescent wool first so it may take a while.
  9. This wasn’t so much a specific product as a goal to stash bust and use up/get rid of some of my stash and I’ve been pretty good this year. I haven’t invested in much new yarn and I had a clear out and disposed of any uninspiring wool that was still lurking in drawers giving anything usable to friends who knit/crochet/pom pom and local charity shops.  There were also many knitted mini-stockings to use up scrag ends of wool so I consider this a tick overall as well.

So, 2019, what do you have in store for me? I hope it will look a little something like this…

Make Nine 2018
#makenine2018

Photo Credits and Patterns L-R from top left: 1. Bounce Blanket – Tin Can Knits; 2. Stockings – the Pottery Barn 3. Hue Shift Afghan – pattern from Knit Picks; 4. Weasley Jumpers – full blog on the pattern here; 5. Shetland Lace Blanket – pattern available here; 6. Polygon Blanket – Tin Can Knits; 7. Christmas baubles – pattern my own; 8. Harvest Cardigan – Tin Can Knits; 9. Christmas Stocking Decorations – pattern here.

  1. Bounce Blanket – I’ve wanted to make this for a while and as a few friends are expecting new arrivals in 2018 I hope this might be the year.
  2. Christmas Stockings (full size) – Stockings are always my favourite part of Christmas so they’ll be fun thing to make and spread the joy. I haven’t found a pattern I like as yet but I hope when I settle on/design one they’ll look something like these Pottery Barn ones.
  3. Hue Shift Afghan – I bought the kit from Knit Picks and it’s been keeping me quiet since before Christmas. It’s a lovely pattern to knit, interesting enough that you don’t get bored but straight forward enough that you can watch TV and not worry too much about what’s going on with the needles. I’m about halfway through so hope to finish it this month.
  4. Weasley Jumpers – two new Weasley jumpers for two new little Ravenclaw’s. Already started one, as soon as the Afghan’s finished I’ll put the sleeves on it.
  5. Shetland Lace Blanket –  I made one a few years ago and it was a fun pattern to make and really challenged me, I fancy a big project for the year so this might be it.
  6. Polygon Blanket – It may end up being a battle of the blankets as to which actually get cast on but Polygon is also in the running. Looks great, lovely use of colour and quite different to all the others.
  7. Christmas decs…because…look at how jolly they are!
  8. Harvest jumper – again would like to make myself something bigger than a hat and this pattern looks like it might be a good place to start.
  9. Christmas decs…see 7.

If anyone needs me I’ll be hiberknitting.

The Shetlander #makenine: progress and plans

2017 was on of my most productive making years and it was great always having something on the wires (needles in Shetland dialect). For me, there were two main things that kept my knitting year on track. The first was having this blog! While never super busy writing, I found that having the blog as a bit of a knitting diary helped keep me accountable to myself and cut down on those nights where I just faffed around.

The other tool I found really useful was the Make Nine challenge and taking the time to think about what I actually wanted to make, use and learn over the year. Looking back at the 2017 Make Nine challenge, I’ve finished three of the items, started a fourth and got the wool for a fifth. It doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s probably the most I’ve ever followed a plan!

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#2017makenine progress

2017 Make Nine Photo credits & patterns L-R from top left: 1. Ondawa by Michele Wang; 2. Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston; 3. Socks! Line drawing my own; 4. Fly Away by Tin Can Knits; 5 I’m sure this is not a suitable baby toy but I do love this Flamingo by Susan B Anderson; 6. Baby Girl Fair Isle Cardigan by Purl Soho; 7. Hazel the Humpback Whale by Bec Brittain; 8. Rock Lobster Mittens by SpillyJane Knits; 9. Shallmillens Snood by Donna Smith. All photos are taken from the patterns’ Ravelry pages.

  1. The Ondawa jumper by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed. I purchased the yarn for this in the summer from Iona Wool and so far I’ve started a sleeve as a swatch. I’m not as far on as I’d like but fortunately for me, jumpers are a year round necessity up here!
  2. The Bousta Beanie by Gudrun Johnston for Shetland Wool Week 2017. So far, I’ve knitted two of these and I absolutely love them both. I’ve also promised to teach friends’ how to knit them too…
  3. Socks! I made Hermione’s Everyday Socks for my best friend’s birthday and they were great. Lovely to knit and a real sense of achievement. So good, in fact, I’m currently knitting a second pair.
  4. I finally made it through the Fly Away blanket by Tin Can Knits and the full details will be on the blog soon. This was an epic knit and sew (all my own fault) but came out brilliantly in the end. Definitely time consuming though!
  5. I didn’t manage to knit a baby toy and given how my niece likes to put her toys firmly through her paces, I don’t think this will feature in my 2018 plans.
  6. A baby cardigan also didn’t feature this year but I think a proper Shetland jumper for a toddler might be a possibility this year.
  7. Hazel the Humpback Whale remains a major pattern crush but I didn’t make any progress in 2017 towards having her grace my sofa.
  8. Mittens. I still absolutely love the lobster mittens but this year’s main mitten progress was to mend my Flamingo Mittens. I haven’t really taken them off since.
  9. The Shallmillens Snood by Donna Smith. I got as far as purchasing the wool for this but I haven’t actually started it yet. I’m hoping to get it going in the first quarter of 2018.

And so to the 2018 Make Nine plans. There are some that remain from last year, some newbies and some that are unlikely because let’s face it, how many jumpers can I realistically knit in a year? Time to find out!

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#2018makenine plans

2018 Make Nine Photo credits & patterns L-R from top left: 1. Ondawa by Michele Wang; 2. Shallmillens Snood by Donna Smith; 3. Toddler’s fair isle jumper. Terrible line drawing all my own; 4. Harvest Moon Blanket by Aimee Alexander; 5. Peace de resistance mittens by Bristol Ivy; 6. Open Waters shawl by Melanie Berg; 7. Fern and Feather by Jennifer Steingass; 8. Arrow Pom hat by Hilary Grant; 9. The Weekender by Andrea Mowry. All photos are taken from the patterns’ Ravelry pages.

  1. The Ondawa jumper by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed. With glorious yarn from Iona Wool, I’m on the case. It won’t be fast and it’s definitely far above my level but I’m excited!
  2. The Shallmillens Snood by Donna Smith. The yarn is purchased and the needles await.
  3. A fair isle jumper for a toddler. I’m not sure of a pattern or colours but I’d love to knit a wee jumper for my niece.
  4. Baby blanket(s). Every year there are more babies and that necessitates more baby blankets. I need at least two this year but I can’t decide on patterns. At the moment, I’m a big fan of the Harvest Moon Blanket by Aimee Alexander but I’ve not decided on patterns yet.
  5. The Peace de resistance mittens by Bristol Ivy. These mittens are clever, fun and above all inspiring. Basically, everything a mitten should be. It would also let me give my flamingo mitts a rest!
  6. Open Waters shawl by Melanie Berg. This shawl reminds me of the sea and I love the sea (islander through and through). To date, I’ve not been much of a shawl wearer but I think this shawl could change that. Any yarn suggestions would be great though as I haven’t the first clue what would be good to knit this in.
  7. Any jumper by Jennifer Steingass. At the moment, my favourite is Fern and Feather but frankly, they’re all brilliant and I’d be thrilled to make any of her designs.
  8. I got the wonderful Knits from the North book by Hilary Grant for my birthday so I’d love to try a pattern from that. The Arrow Pom hat is currently top of my list.
  9. The Weekender by Andrea Mowry. Right now, I can’t get enough of boxy jumpers and this one has really caught my eye. If I can finish Ondawa, I can take this on!

Wool in the Wild

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As mad knitterly notions go, knitting over a metre of fair isle in 14 days is pretty bonkers. But I did it! And that feels really good.

Over the years, friends and I have done a few peerie yarn bomb/guerilla knitting type projects for Shetland Wool Week. It started with a dalek, tardis and an octopus. Last year was a lace panel in a phone box. This year I transformed a mooring ring in the harbour into a fair isle peace sign.

The idea had been lurking for a while but I only started it about 2 weeks ago. I swatched (an event in itself), picked a pattern, chose some colours and set going. The pattern is from the glorious Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary Macgregor and the colours are all Shetland wool with a mix of stash and newly purchased.

The fair isle section was knitted in the round using magic loop and with a steek. I’ve heard a fair bit about steeking but the idea of cutting up your knitting remains terrifying to me, even after the great mitten success. To prepare, I read Kate Davies’ excellent tutorials and then promptly ignored quite a bit of it! My theory was that since it wasn’t a knitted garment, I didn’t need to stabilise the steek and I reckoned that using Shetland wool with its inherent stickiness would probably result in a fairly stable fabric anyway.

Thankfully, that pretty major gamble worked out. I chopped up the steek, positioned the knitting around the mooring ring and then sewed it together. Brilliant!

The white inner sections are knitted using the i-cord technique with aran weight yarn held double. I can’t say I gave a lot (or even enough) thought to how I would do the inner sections of the peace sign and my decision to use a bulky i-cord was based really on a need for speed! Saying that, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out and the only thing I would change is the white colour as I think it detracts from the fair isle a bit.

Following on from this project, I’d really like to learn more about how to choose colours for fair isle knitting because I’m a bit rubbish at it right now. Any suggestions of online help or good classes would be gratefully received! I also need to learn to give myself more time for pretty much everything because this was an intense knit!

Overall, it was fun to take on a completely different challenge and it gave my a pretty big sense of achievement to actually manage it. While it’s set my other knitting plans back a bit, it’s been worth it and made for a great start to Shetland Wool Week.

Helpful Information

Pattern – no pattern as such but the fair isle motif is taken from the book Fair Isle Knitting Patterns by Mary Macgregor. I offset the pattern every second row to create more of an allover design and just guesstimated how much to knit! Knitted in the round and steeked at the end. For the white sections, I did a rough i-cord with the yarn held double.
Steek assistance – I read this brilliant info from Kate Davies about steeking and the best way to do it. I didn’t use it on this project since it wasn’t a garment but I will definitely use these resources if I ever pluck up the courage to knit a fair isle jumper or cardi!
Magic loop – this has been my favoured method for knitting in the round for a good while now. I think this post by Tin Can Knits really covers the basics well.
Cast on – long tail cast on. I’ve finally got it memorised but this video from Wool and the Gang explains it brilliantly.
Cast off – just a very standard cast off, if slightly rushed by dawn fully breaking! Nothing like casting off as the Northlink ferry arrives from Aberdeen!

Materials

Needles – for the fair isle section, I used some 3.75mm circular needles (no idea what brand but the join was hopeless!) I knitted the white i-cord on 6mm double pointed needles.
Wool – a mixture of Jamieson’s and Jamieson and Smith from stash and some newly purchased. The Jamieson’s spindrift colours used in the fair isle are 127 Pebble (white), 688 mermaid (jade-y turquoise-y green) and 684 cobalt (blue). The white i-cord is Jamieson’s Shetland Heather in 104 natural white and held double. I’m pretty sure the grey background is Jamieson and Smith Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight in 2003 Shaela but I’ve long since lost the ball band so I can’t be sure. I know it’s definitely from Jamieson and Smith though and all their greys are brilliant! I think the yellow in the fair isle is also Jamieson and Smith but their 2ply jumper weight and I think the colour is 091. Again, I may be wrong about that!

Two Left Mitts

You know how if someone isn’t great at dancing you might say they have two left feet?

Well, this week I realised the knitting equivalent when I proudly cast off my second Bon Bon hand-warmer and yes, you guessed it, realised I had made two left mitts.

Hey ho, pulled back to the start of the gusset and did it all over again – this time remembering to turn the page for the right hand’s set of instructions and now, here they are, a beautiful pair!

Bon Bon Mitts
Worth the effort