Friday, 15 May 2015

Shilasdair Shawlette



When I went to Scotland last year I brought home some great yarn gifts to myself. Some have been knitted up already, others are still waiting in the yarn treasury for their turn. However, I did not only bring yarn back for myself. I brought my mum some wool as well. The choice went to two pretty Shilasdair fingering weight skeins. Shilasdair, hails from the Herbrides, the Isle of Skye. Shilasdair yarns are naturally dyed with locally sourced dye materials. The yarn is a mix  of 10% cashmere, 10% baby camel, 40% angora, and 40% lambswool, an interesting mix of different fibres. I wasn't sure how it would hold up, but my mum says it holds up very well. The colourway of the skeins I picked for her is moss, naturally dyed with meadowsweet, tansy, onion skins and indigo.



 My mum made it into a simple shawlette to show off the colours of the yarn. She used an old pattern from a Dutch magazine. Over here, these types of shawls are called "kippendoekje", or "Chicken cloth". These types of small shawls were worn by Dutch farmer's wives when working around the farm. There was quite some buzz about them in the Dutch knitting community earlier this year when a well known not knitting related Dutch magazine had a special about these shawls. There were a lot of different variations of "kippendoekjes" around, some incorporated a simple lace or texture, or a special border at the edge of the shawl, but first and foremost these were practical items, so they weren't too fussy, except for the ones for Sundays and special occasions. My mum knitted a basic version of this old tradition. She is very happy with the outcome, and is already planning to make a similar shawl in one of the red Shilasdair colourways.


I love wearing shawls, in all shapes and sizes. Small shawls are perfect for this time of the year, when the weather is starting to warm up, but it is not quite there yet.



In other news, my computer is crumbling down. On the one hand, she's an old cat so it was about time to find a replacement, on the other hand the thing was working perfectly fine until last week, so it has come as quite a surprise. Not the best timing, with the thesis writing going on, but I guess these things happen. If I'm around less, you know what to point fingers to!

Xx
Nisse


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Mullspice Hat



Ah, the start of Spring. It marks the beginning of a time in which every self respecting knit blogger will present their readers with at least some out-of-season projects. I will kick things off here with a worsted weight cable hat. I started this project because I needed a quick and fun project for in between working on my thesis. As you read in my last post my knit time is fairly limited at the moment, as I juggle regular uni work with thesis writing. A fast, cable project was just what the doctor order to distract me from my 'meh'-feelings about my limited knit time (or time for anything not uni related for that matter).

Pattern: Mullspice
Designer: Alicia Plummer
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios
Colourway: Glitter



I fell for the rustic feel of the pattern. I had one skein of Malabrigo Rios in my stash which,while being a heavier weight, suited the pattern very much. Because Rios is a heavier weigh than asked for, I cast on fewer stitches. I didn’t do the folded brim, again because I’m using a heavier weight yarn and thought a folded brim would be a bit too bulky for my taste. I wanted to give Rios a try after my disappointment with Malabrigo Worsted. I have to say the yarn seems to hold up a lot better. I can only tell for sure when I have been wearing it for a while, but it looks a lot more promising than the worsted.


The pattern is a bit unclear about the decreases, specifically on what to do with the cables as you decrease. You can sort of intuitively figure it out, especially if you’ve knitted cabled projects before. I think most people expect that part in the pattern. I tried to keep the cable as it starts for as long as I could then I decreased the cables evenly from 3/3 to 2/2 cables and finally to 1/1. Other than that I had no issues with the pattern.

This was my first pattern by Alicia Plummer. Though not everything she makes is completely my style, I do like the rustic feel of her designs. I also think she has quite a recognisable aesthetics to her designs, which is admirable. While I liked some of her other designs, I'm not sure if I will start one soon. For one, I can only handle so many non-colourwork projects before I cave in and cast on an avalanche of stranded projects, and I'm not sure if her pattern writing style suits me. Perhaps Mullspice was not the best pattern as a first encounter, or to judge her patterns on. Mullspice was not a badly written pattern, but some information was lacking.


Overall I'm quite happy with the end result. The hat came out a bit bigger after a blocking. I have a small head, and think I could have gone for the smaller size, but it doesn't bother me much.I think I will get a lot of use out of my Mullspice when the cold sets in again.

xxx