Chunky Hat and Cowl in Rowan Big Wool Colour – WIN a BWC pattern

Wool_Week_Cowl_BWC_collection
Chunky knits are my very, very favourite thing to knit. Not only do they look great, they’re super cozy and you can whip up a hat in little over one hour. What’s not to love? This season Rowan have added a Big Wool variation to their range of yarns – Big Wool Colour. It definitely falls into the category of art yarns, with its different strands of fibres intertwining and lovely slubs (bits of unspun/less tightly spun yarn) died in beautiful speckled colours. And the best thing about it is: BWC can be used in any pattern designed for the good old Big Wool too.

Here’s hat Salsa from the Big Wool Colour collection.
Salsa_Hat_BWC_3It’s chunky, it’s slouchy, I love it.

Salsa_Hat_BWC_1Knit in 1×1 rib.

Salsa_Hat_BWC_2For the cowl I used 4 balls of Big Wool colour in shade Jamboree and Rowan’s free cabled Wool Week Cowl pattern, a quick and easy knit suitable for a beginner knitter. I used up nearly all of 4 balls. The cowl is long enough to wrap 3 times around your neck, but you could easily use only 3 balls and make it a bit shorter.

Wool_Week_Cowl_BWC_2Or wear it loose when it’s not as cold.

Wool_Week_Cowl_BWC_1The cable detail disappears a bit with all the variations of the yarn, so if I make this again with BWC I think  I will go for either the stockinette or garter stitch version of the cowl.

Wool_Week_Cowl_BWC_detail

To WIN the pattern for Fandango, head over to the IamSnowfox facebook page.

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Rowan Yarns & Kaffe Fassett Mystery Afghan KAL

Kaffe Fassett is one of the big names in crafting. If you’re a knitter or a quilter, you will most likely have come across his name on various occasions. He’s famous for wild, vibrant colour combinations and intricate patters. I … Continue reading

Anthropologie Inspired Gift Tag Tutorial

I recently saw Anthropologie’s cute Pop Dot Monogram Decorations, and immediately decided that yarn letters would be perfect as gift tags for my Christmas presents this year. Almost all of my presents are handmade, so of course the tags would have to be handmade too. I have lots of odd bits of wool and glittery things lying around, and these letters are perfect to use those last scraps up.

Anthropologie Gift Tags FinishedThese letter tags are quick to make, the materials cost next to nothing and they look cute both as gift tags and as decorations on your Christmas tree! I made a whole set of MERRY CHRISTMAS letters which I’m giving away as a gift this year. And of course you could change the theme to go with any occasion, birthdays, holidays.. you name it!

Here’s what you need:

Anthropologie Gift Tags Utensils1. Glue Stick (I like Pritt)
2. Hot Glue Gun (keep out of reach of children!)
3. Decorations (I used card making supplies, but anything goes. Sequins, beads, etc)
4. Scrap Yarn
5. Pencil
6. Cardboard
7. Scissors

First, decide how big you want your letters to be. You can either draw them freely, or print templates and glue them to your cardboard. I made my letters about 7cms tall. Cut all letters out neatly trying not to bend the cardboard too much.
Anthropologie Gift Tags RawChoose your yarn colours. Start by glueing the end of your strand of yarn to the cardboard with the hot glue gun and let it dry. Wrap a thin layer of yarn around the whole letter. If you have trouble keeping the yarn in place, use a little bit of hot glue to fix single strands. Don’t worry about the glue peeking through, you can hide the glue under the next layer of yarn. I used hot glue for sharp angles and to stop the yarn from sliding off the edges of my letters. Tiny amounts of glue will do so don’t go overboard. You can even out any wonky lines in your letter by simply wrapping more or less yarn around the cardboard.Anthropologie Gift Tags HalfwayLetters with holes (A’s, D’s, etc) can be tricky to wrap if they are too small. It helps winding your wool into a tiny ball that will fit through the holes, or cut a long piece of string, thread it through a sewer’s needle and use that to wrap your letter. 
Anthropologie Gift Tags PureWhen you have finished wrapping your letters, pick up your glue gun and your decorations and get creative! 

Merry Christmas!
Anthropologie Gift Tags Present

Knitting and Stitching Show 2013

I-Love-knitting-1912

British Wool Week has started and living just on the outskirts of London, I am lucky enough to be able to attend some of the events taking place in different locations in the city every day.

The Knitting and Stitching Show is the biggest show for any yarn and fibre related craft in the UK, attending is mandatory for anybody passionate about crafts. It was only my second time at the show, but I had an absolute blast. I went on saturday, which was probably the busiest day of all. By noon Alexandra Palace was packed with people, and it was so crowded it was actually starting to become difficult to see any of the stalls and talk to people.

Having been a Rowan Ambassador for several months now, my highlight of the day was meeting some of the Rowan Yarns Staff and being introduced to some of their designers. Many key pieces and yarns from their A/W collections were on display at the Coats Crafts Stall which was one of the largest stalls in the exhibition.

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You can see some of their beautiful yarns on display, as well as the most recent publications including my favourite, Pioneer by Martin Storey and Kim Hargreaves’ Storm which has only been released last week. My favourite yarns this season include Rowan’s Alpaca Colour, Thick’n’Thin and the new Fine Art colours. Sadly there were no samples of the highly anticipated Fine Art Aran, but hopefully the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate in November will have some samples.

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Caris and Annis from Kim Hargreaves’ Storm. Caris is definitely one of my favourite designs this season, it looks modern and classy at the same time and is knit with Rowan Kidsilk Haze and Fine Lace.

Rowan mannekin-display-1933

Just look at the beautiful styling of the mannequins.. It was all about the knitwear, but I somehow can’t help wanting one of those amazing skirts which are hand-sewn by the in-house design team.

Rowan peacock jumper 1938Another of one of my favourite pieces this season – Almanac from Martin Storey’s Pioneer. I would probably make it in more peacock-y colours however. Navy with green and gold accents perhaps instead of pink and red tones.

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Some samples from Jem Weston’s book Cute Little Knits – Isn’t ther Lovebird Cushion adorable? And I don’t need to tell you how much I love Fantastic Fox!

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I had the great pleasure of meeting Designers Martin Storey and Rachel Coopey, who were both signing copies of their newest books Pioneer and A Knitted Sock Society.

Another of my favourite British Yarn retailers, Toft were well worth a visit. Their stall was buzzing with customers, it must have been a very successful event for them.
toft-end-of-an-era-1929They are  famous for their signature bulbous Button Bag. The bags are sold as kits to make at home, but if you can’t knit you can also hire a knitter to make one for you! These beautiful bags are sadly being discontinued, so if you have been wanting to make one, now is your last chance!

toft-monkey-1928

Their newest pattern book, Edward’s Menagerie, which features many cute crocheted animals, was available at the Knitting and Stitching Show as a Limited Printed Edition. It was sadly sold out by the time I got to visit their stall, but you can get a digital copy here.

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On the way out I managed to get some pictures of KNIT 1, a black cab which has been yarnbombed and covered entirely in knitted objects!

I had a wonderful time and have already marked the dates of The Knitting and Stitching Show 2014 in my calendar (and who knows, I may even go to the Harrogate one in November, that’s how much fun it was!).
Next up will be Wool Week and Knit Nation. I am participating in a live yarn bombing of a window display in John Lewis Oxford Street.. stay tuned for  footage of our progress and other fun events and workshops!

Manly Honeycomb Mittens Knitting Pattern

Manly Honeycomb Mittens Pattern

Mr Fox has been complaining about cold hands all winter last year, and who am I to not take mercy? I thought long and hard about what kind of mittens to make for him, since he tends to be rather picky and doesn’t necessarily go for colour combinations I would choose. I toyed with the idea of making just plain old solid-coloured mittens, as they tend to be quick and easy, and wouldn’t make me grumble if he lost them, but then my knitting pride took over and I wanted them to be at least a little bit fancy. The instructions will make a pair of adult men’s size mittens. I will include alterations for a women’s sized pair at the end of the pattern as well. Check out my Ravelry project page!

I settled on a knitted honeycomb mitten pattern and Rowan Yarns Creative Focus Worsted, a mix of 75% Wool and 25% Alpaca in shades Natural and New Fern. I already had single balls of each colour in my stash and thought they looked rather nice together. The mittens are lovely and soft, and the pattern makes them wonderfully thick and squishy. Wearing these, Mr Fox’s paws will be toasty all winter! And after knitting a pair I had enough yarn left over to make another pair for myself.

Pattern:Manly Honeycomb Mitts inside

You will need:
1 skein of worsted weight colour A (Main colour)
1 skein of worsted weight colour B (Contrasting colour)
1 set of 3,5mm dpns (I use sets of 5)
1 set of 4mm dpns (I use sets of 5)
Safety pin or stitch holder
Tapestry needle to weave in ends
Stitch Marker (optional)

Cast on 40 sts with colour A on 3,5mm needles, distribute evenly across needles and join. Place stitch marker (optional).

Cuff:
*K2, P2, rep from * until end. Repeat this row 24 more times for a total of 25 rows (or adjust to whichever length you prefer).
Change to 4mm needles.*Inc, P4, rep from * until end (48sts).
Purl one row.

Honeycomb Pattern:
Part 1:
Row 1: *K4 with colour B, Sl 2 purlwise of colour A, rep from * to end of row.
Repeat this row 4 more times for a total of 5 rows.
Tip: Make sure colour A is at the back when starting each row. For neat colour changes, carry up colour A in the back (Great tutorial here).
Row 6: Purl
Row 7: Purl
Now alternate pattern as follows:
Part 2:
Row 8: *K1 with colour B, Sl 2 purlwise of colour A, K3 with colour B. Rep from * to end of row.
Repeat this row 4 more times for a  total of 5 rows.
Row 13: Purl
Row 14: Purl

Thumb*:
For a man’s pair of mittens, repeat pattern 2,5 times (5 rows of honeycombs, or 3 reps of Part 1, only 2 reps of Part 2).
When you are about to purl the last two rows, insert thumb as follows: P2, put 7 sts on stitch holder. Cast on 7 stitches, purl to end of row. Purl one row.
*When you have finished your mitten, knit thumb with colour A by picking up the 7 stitches from holder plus additional stitches for a total of 14 sts. Knit all rows until thumb is long enough. Finish by K2tog around.

Knit the pattern 6,5 times (13 rows of honeycombs, or 7 reps of Part 1, 6 reps of Part 2), or adjust until the mittens are long enough.

Finish the tip with Colour A:Manly Honeycomb Mittens Closeup

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: *K2tog, K4, rep from * to end of row (40sts)
Row 3-4: Knit
Row 5: *K2tog, K3, rep from * to end of row (32 sts)
Row 6-7: Knit
Row 8: *K2tog, K2, rep from * to end of row (24sts)
Row 9-10: Knit
Row 11: *K2tog, rep to end

Thread yarn through remaining stitches and pull tight, weave in ends. Tah dah!

For the Ladies:

How to adjust the size of the mittens:
If you’re knitting for an average woman’s sized hands, insert the thumb after 2 pattern repeats (4 rows of honeycombs), or after 1,5 pattern repeats (3 rows of honeycombs) for small hands. I find 48sts a good width for both men’s and women’s mittens, but you can adjust this if you’d like them wider or more snug. The pattern is worked over multiples of 6 sts, so simply add or deduct multiples of 6 sts from the total of stitches to make them wider or smaller. For my hands a total of 5,5 reps of the pattern is long enough (11 rows of honeycombs), simply adjust by adding more or less pattern repeats.

Gap-Tastic Cowl feat. Rowan Thick ‘n’ Thin

Rowan Yarn’s Thick ‘n’ Thin is probably my favourite new yarn of the season. I had 6 balls of colour 960, Pyrite, and decided to make Jen Geigley’s Gap-Tastic Cowl to go with a berry coloured blazer I got recently. The pattern is available for free at Jen’s Ravelry store!

Photograph © Oodelally

Photograph © Oodelally

I simply love this cowl! It’s the perfect length, can be worn just as it is or wrapped around your neck twice. You can even wear it as a hood when it’s raining or snowing, that’s how awesome it is! For more notes, check out my project page on Ravelry!

Photograph © Oodelally

Photograph © Oodelally

The cowl is entirely knit in moss stitch and knits up really fast, two evenings on the sofa watching Dexter did it for me. The pattern brings out the colours and texture of the yarn beautifully, although if I ever make it again using Thick ‘n’ Thin, I’d probably knit it in stockinette stitch to bring out the texture of the fibre even more.

Photograph © Oodelally

Photograph © Oodelally

Just look at it! Thick ‘n’ Thin comes in 10 beautiful shades, all named after precious stones. Every colourway subtly blends several shades together, and it is definitely an art yarn, considering the inconsistent thickness of the yarn. My favourite colours are Pumice, Granite and Basalt, but the other ones are gorgeous as well. It’s one of those yarns you want to display somewhere in your house because it is so pretty (am I the only person who does this?).

Shade-Card

I got Rowan Yarn’s pattern brochure Thick ‘n’Thin to go with the yarn, but since most projects needed more than 6 balls, decided against making anything from the book at this point. I am thinking about getting some of the Granite Thick ‘n’ Thin though to make something from the brochure, here are my favourite three designs from the collection:

Corona, a hooded scarf. Chunky, cosy, and it even has pompoms (ok, I might leave those out, but still, pompoms are awesome)!

Comet, a short Cardigan with solid colour accents. I imagine this would go lovely with a floaty dress and your favourite pair of boots.

And last but not least,  cropped jumper Cosmos because cropped jumpers and tops are everywhere this year, and this is perfect for layering up! Which one is your favourite design? 

Out with the old..

That was quite a bit of radio silence.. My cold got (once again) the better of me and I had to lie low and try to finally get all those evil flu monsters out of my system. I spoke to my doctor and he and I both agreed that I would need lots of rest, lots of fresh air (but don’t overdo it) and an extra dose of TLC. So I did the only reasonable thing: I went to Austria, to the small town in the mountains where my grandma lives. Mountain air, hot springs, grandma’s cooking and home remedies finally seemed to make a difference and I am, for the first time this year, feeling almost like the usual me. Not difficult when the first thing you see when you open the windows in the morning is pretty white snow and mountain cabins.

Snowy Garden Austria

Room with a view

As much as I love winter, if you live in a country where there isn’t a lot of snow and the world is just grey and cold and wet for a long time, winter gets to even the toughest cookies. Being ill for such a long time drained me of my usual energy and enthusiasm and left me feeling bland and lacking motivation. Being back home in the mountain house I’ve loved all my life was the necessary boost I needed to get me back on track, and it didn’t take long for me to start working on things again. It’s a time of quite a few big changes in my personal life, and sometimes we forget to look at the bigger picture and get carried away worrying about the little things. It’s in times of change that I try to remember that at the end of the day all it takes to ground us is doing things we love and feel passionate about. Like crafting. Or a walk in the snow.

Snow covered lake

Snow covered lake

So as soon as I returned home (bags heavy with new things I made while recovering), the light box was set up and pictures taken, and there will be an update in my shop very soon. To give you an idea about what’s coming, here’s a sneak peak of some new trolls I made. Since plants have been so present in my life in the past few weeks, it’s no wonder they’ve been creeping into my creations as well :)

Amigurumi troll doll Kami

Sneak-a-peak

Making ends meet

I love wool. All knitters do (or so I assume) and I am no exception. I find it exceptionally hard to walk past a yarn shop without entering. Usually I leave with at least 2 balls of yarn, already visualizing future projects and possible recipients of my work. And while inspiration is great, sometimes I get carried away. Last winter (it was during the sales though, it was TOO good an opportunity to miss) I bought 15 balls of Rowan Silk Twist, planning to make a jumper or an oversized cardigan for myself. I chose a beautiful gold and ochre shade and couldn’t wait to get home to get started. Once back however another project caught my attention, and another yarn, and all too quickly I was busy making more Kamis and socks and the beautiful bag of yarn lay forgotten in my stash chest. It is now a year later, and winter is almost over again. The yarn is still patiently lying in its bag, waiting for the day when I will finally run out of other projects.

Frustrated that I simply don’t have the time and energy to work on a gazillion projects at once, I have set myself a task: Not to buy new wool this year before my stash at home has been reduced to odd bits and bobs. But what to do when you’re busy knitting a piece and all of a sudden you run out of wool? And you’ve decided not to allow yourself to buy another ball of the yarn needed to finish? You frantically rummage around in your stash to find a yarn that works as a substitute. The results are something like these.

Handknit Socks

You may ask: But why didn’t she simply knit two green cuffs and finish each sock in the other yarn? The answer is: Because I was wrong. I thought I had enough wool to finish a whole pair, but I didn’t. I kind of like the idea of emphasizing a flaw in a piece though. The Japanese fill cracks in ceramics with pure gold to better show the flaw in a piece, and to honour that even something that is imperfect has its very own beauty. The bold green stands in stark contrast to the rest of the colours, and that was exactly what I wanted. I have a feeling that this kind of look will be a thing throughout the year for me. Can’t wait to see how other pieces turn out. I would love to hear about your favourite projects to recycle leftover yarn!

Pingu the Amigurumi penguin

When I was a little kid I used to watch a show on TV called ‘Pingu’. I was completely smitten with the way he honked at his friends and curled up in a ball to roll away. The hours spent trying to imitate ‘penguin sounds’ surely had to pay off someday. Alas, I didn’t become the world’s first penguin interpreter, but my childhood hero did at least inspire me to make my own wool version of him, complete with a little collar and bell because I like the tiny tinkling sound it makes. Pingu himself couldn’t look cuter! Did you know there are penguins who live in South Africa? These cute little birds nest on a beach in Cape Town called Boulder’s Beach. They dig holes in the sand to lay their eggs, and when it gets too warm they sometimes sneak into people’s gardens to swim in the pool. Would you mind sharing your pool with one of these guys?

Pingu Amigurumi crochet doll

Moss Slippers for Mr Fox

England is not necessarily known as a cold country. We do however get a few weeks of frost, and recently have also been blessed with small but nevertheless delightful amounts of snow. Our home is on the edge of woodland, which means there are hardly any buildings to shelter the house from the cold and wind, and therefore it gets very cold at night. Both me and Mr Fox were struck down by a terrible cold and spent both Christmas and NYE in bed. We did try to go out for a little bit on the 31st, but I fell asleep on our friends’ couch halfway through the party.

Unfortunately, we live above stingy people who don’t heat their flat at all and consequently our floor is very cold despite the carpet. As a result, we constantly suffer from cold feet. One of my new year’s resolutions was to create more this year, and to take better care of me and mine, so I ventured out in the snow yesterday to get some wool for a pair of crochet slippers for Mr Fox. Rowan has a wonderful range of chunky Yarn called Big Wool that I love working with. I found some pretty wooden buttons that I think will look amazing with the green hues I’ve chosen. I will post a picture of the slippers as soon as they are finished, and I might even write up a pattern, so check back soon.

Rowan Yarn for Moss Slippers with wooden buttons

Rowan Big Wool and wooden buttons