Caught My Eye #1

Hope you have had a good weekend. It is all go here again at the moment. Lots of exciting things happening.

I have decided to start another more regular feature. I often see something come up on Ravelry and just think – yes! Sometimes it is something that is totally “me” and sometimes it is something that I would not usually have pegged as a “Clare pattern”. Every time though, it has some kind of wow factor. I thought it would be fun to share these with you, hopefully you will spot something along the way that speaks to you.

The first pattern I have picked instantly jumped out at me and has stayed with me all week. It seems to be doing very well on Ravelry in the “hot right now” selection too. I love seeing designers do well, especially those who might not be the big name designers but who have original and stylish designs.

The Quills Arrow Shawl by Courtney Spainhower is absolutely stunning. This large shawl has it all. An interesting, unique and wearable shape coupled with little details, like the feathers, make this a standout design in my book. Courtney has amazing yarn to work with here, and she really has made it shine with her clever but sophisticated pattern. I adore this shawl.

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

Used with permission. Copyright Courtney Spainhower / Photos by Mare

The yarn looks pretty special too. Lisa from Northbound Knitting really turns out some stellar colourways. She also creates amazing shawl patterns and has a soft spot for grey. My kind of dyer and knitwear designer.

Here are some pictures of the gorgeous shawl and more details can be found on the designers page. I am very tempted to see what I can find in my stash and cast this shawl on. It will have to be fingering weight as I just don’t have enough DK at the moment. The other option would be to do some yarn shopping next weekend …

Courtney also has a beautiful jumper out that caught my eye, Bailiwick Pullover is a modern take on the gansey style jumper. Created in light fingering with a loose but very flattering fit. Its a beautiful garment.

I really recommend having a look at these patterns, and I will certainly be keeping an eye of Courtney Spainhower to see what she releases in the near future.

Have a wonderful week.

Happy knitting x

How did you knit yours?

I love my Rikke hat. Actually to say I love it is an understatement. I ADORE this hat. I wear it day in and day out, none of my other hats really get a look in. It is the perfect slouch, and the yarn I chose for it is the perfect slouch yarn.

In homage to the Rikke hat I thought I would start a new feature based on my favourite knits. So, here you have it.

“How did you knit yours?” is going to feature lots of examples of how other fabulous knitters have knitted the projects I am most fond of. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy putting it together.

The Rikke hat has been knitted over 4,000 times since it was published in January 2011 by Sarah Young. It is a free pattern that is very well written and easy to follow. It is perfect for learning to knit in the round if you are a beginner knitter and a wonderfully relaxing knit if you are more experienced. As you will see from the projects I have picked it is also the perfect showcase project for amazing yarn, colour and modifications.

Lets get started shall we.

Stripes, ah stripes, how I love thee. This pattern is the perfect choice to experiment with colour and stripes. I love these examples they make my heart sing!

A flash of bright on a neutral background, pale grey and yellow, add a pom pom … what more do you need in your life? MissMaria’s example is just what you need on a dreary winters day. 

Rikke_Stripes_missmaria

Used with permission. Copyright MissMaria

Maybe you prefer more colour in your relationship with grey? A few grounding grey stripes in this pink example knitted by FallMasche could be the answer to your quest for the perfect stripe combination.

Used with permission. Copyright: Fallmasche

Used with permission. Copyright: Fallmasche

Bright colours not your thing? You could pair your grey with a richer shade like 1morerow did here. 

Used with permission. Copyright 1morerow

Used with permission. Copyright 1morerow

In need of some rainbow love? The dark grey background in this example by hpnyknits allows those rainbow colours to shine through. 

Used with permission. Copyright: hpnyknits

Not a fan of grey? I am not sure it is possible to not like grey, but then I am so deeply in love with grey maybe I just can’t see sense anymore.

This is a colourful and fun combination of bright and rich. This Rikke was knitted by Katlinn. 

Used with permission. Copyright: Katlinn

Used with permission. Copyright: Katlinn

Staying with green, you might prefer this striped version by Cringer. I love how the deeper shades grounds the bright stripes.

Used with permission. Copyright: Cringer

Used with permission. Copyright: Cringer

Last, but certainly not least in the stripe section, is this classic combination of navy and white. Idlewitch knitted this out of Debbie Bliss Summer Cotton (100% cotton) and Exotics Merino and Linen (65% Merino and 35% Linen) making it the perfect spring and summer hat. 

Used with permission. Copyright: Idlewitch

Then there are the examples that showcase colour, plain and simple. No stripes needed here, just glorious colour. I love these two examples. On the right by AliciaPlum and on the left by PurlDragon in Malabrigo Rios aptly named Sunset. 

Another colour jamboree come in the handspun section, I was blown away by the gorgeous handspun creations. This hat is perfect for showcasing those masterpiece skeins. I really do need to splash out on some handspun one day.

These are my four favourite handspun examples.

From top, clockwise: The bright colours of this example by RiverWaters could certainly brighten your day. This calm and neutral example by Jodeci is pure understated beauty. The fresh green shades in this example by Knitbugval make me long for warm spring days. Finally, the muted colours of this example just work so well together it was knitted by Petramar, who has knitted six Rikke hats! That is testament to how versatile this pattern is.

As mentioned before, this hat lends itself perfectly to modifications. Many people have opted to do columns of slipped stitches up the length of the hat.

The samples shown below give you an idea of how a simple line of slipped stitches can add so much to this lovely hat pattern. From left to right Autumnal colours from Conniecaps, Grey (did I ever mention how much I love grey?) from KatLinn, and a striking berry red from Smokey.

Used with permission. Copyright (left to right) Conniecaps, KatLinn and Smokey

Here is a selection of other modifications to this hat that caught my eye, if you are looking for inspiration for a modified Rikke hat, this is a good place to start.

Using a skein of Noro and a skein of grey merino, Infusionn gave the Rikke hat a new twist, alternating between stocking stitch and garter stitch, this hat is very striking. They grey breaks up the Noro stripes, giving them space to pop out of the hat in bursts of colour.

Used with permission. Copyright: Infusionn

This modification is pure brilliance, Ninetoedwoman has added a little ruched pleat, giving a lovely feminine touch to the hat. This example is knitted out of 100% cashmere. Pure luxury!

Used with permission. Copyright: Ninetoedwoman

Ramblingroses created a Rikke with a textured stitch pattern. This simple adaptation of the design results in a unique hat, with that Rikke slouch. A lovely fun combination of knit and purl. Great for showcasing semi-solid yarns.

Used with permission. Copyright: ramblingroses

If modifying the hat is not your thing, or not enough, you could follow in the footsteps of these Ravellers.

TheSweetStitch added these bright red buttons to her subtle grey hat. They are so fun, and such a quick but striking added detail. I really love how this hat turned out.

Used with permission. Copyright: TheSweetStitch

Used with permission. Copyright: TheSweetStitch

Or you could go down the serious embellishment route like BonnylassinVT and add some extra details to the hat. I love these leaves!

Used with permission. Copyright: Bonnylassinvt

Used with permission. Copyright: Bonnylassinvt

Finally I have picked an example of a knitter (Revelling) who has taken the best of both worlds and combined her two favourite patterns to make her ideal hat. This is one of my favourite things about knitting, the fact you can take a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Add it together, and turn out something fabulous!

This hat is a combination of the Rikke hat and the Garter Stripe Beanie by Terhi Montonen

Used with permission. Copyright: Revelling

Used with permission. Copyright: Revelling

So there you have it, my homage to the Rikke Hat.

Hopefully I have inspired you to knit your own Rikke Hat. I really don’t think you will regret it.

Have you already knitted a Rikke Hat? If you have, how did you knit yours? I would love to hear about your yarn choices, modifications or see your fabulous pictures of your FOs.

Happy knitting x

Here is my Rikke Hat knitted from Hartlam Sutherland DK in the Choose Your Weapon colourway. 

DSC_0794_medium2

Advent Garland KAL

Here is 4/24. The tree. I used scraps of yarn and some tiny seed beads to decorate it.

photo-59

The design is by Frankie Brown and is free on Ravelry. The designer does ask for a donation to Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in lieu of payment for the patterns. www.justgiving.com/frankiesknittedstuff

The advent garland is a set of decorations held on knitted garland strip. The details can be found here. 

Happy Friday everyone.

x

 

Need some colour in your life?

A while back I interviewed the fabulous Pink Hair Girl who is a dear friend of mine. She lives in sunny Cape Town and keeps me smiling in the depths of winter by frequently sending me photos of the beach, the mountain and the sunshine.

Yesterday she released a gorgeous shawl, BURST, I would not usually write about a new release but I just could not help myself with this one. The colours made my heart sing, they lifted my spirits, this shawl was just what the doctor ordered to get me through the rest of the cold, dark days of winter.

Images used with kind permission of Pink Hair Girl. Copyright: PHG

The story behind the design is fascinating too. Sally ran a competition in her group on Ravelry and then designed the shawl with the winner in mind. I really love this idea.

I encourage you to pop over and take a look at this new design. It is also 50% off until the 19th of February with the code BURST. This means the pattern is an absolute steal at just over £1.50. 

Think of all the colour combinations you could play with. Bright, monochrome, tonal shades. The possibilities are endless.

Happy Knitting x

 

Workshops at Ginger Twist Studio, Edinburgh

I am very excited to announce that I have some new workshops booked in at Ginger Twist Studio in Edinburgh. 

All the information can be found on the Workshops page on my blog – http://yarnandpointysticks.com/workshops/

You can also find information on the Ginger Twist Studio blog – http://www.gingertwiststudios.com/workshops/

This weekend we have two spots left on the heel turn workshop. Over two weeks you will explore many different ways of turning a sock heel. Toe up, top down, heel flaps, short rows, textured stitch patterns … It is great fun. The class is from 11.30am to 1pm on Saturday 15th February and Saturday 22nd February. To book contact Jess at the shop.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Knitting With Two Hands…

You might want to say (as my husband did, upon me announcing this over the weekend) – “Don’t you always knit with two hands?” In all honesty I would not blame you, the statement does seem a little strange. Let me explain.

I am a thrower (I knit “English”), though I am not a true thrower as I have adapted my technique, as may knitters do, to speed things up. In the past I have always shied away from “Continental Knitting”. In all honesty I did not want to have to learn something new, especially when the current method I have seemed to work so well.

Everything changed when I decided to challenge myself for the Ravellenics this year. I thought I would try a spot of colour work, I wanted to learn more about stranded knitting. All of a sudden I needed to knit with two hands! One “English” and one “Continental”. Cue mild panic as I realised I need to face my fear of holding yarn in my left hand. This last weekend has been a little bit of an adventure in tight knitting as I slowly made my way through the stitches, using both hands.

Here is my progress so far. The pattern is by Vala Jonsdottir, a local designer and it is called Winter Heather. Unfortunately the pattern is not listed on Ravelry but you can see examples of her work in her Ravelry store. 

photo-58 copy 2

I am challenging myself as part of the Ravellenics event hosted by Ravelry to coincide with the Winter Olympics In Sochi, Russia.

There has been much controversy surrounding this event, predominently centred around Russian human rights abuses and their treatment of the LGBT community.

I strongly believe that all people have the right to live in peace, to be treated with respect and to love without restrictions. I know this does not happen in many parts of the world, but I believe wholeheartedly in the sentiment of a statement I read recently, being in love should not be a crime. Neither should it invite violent attacks upon your person. I am not boycotting the olympics but I am mindful of the treatment of the LGBT community and many others, including migrant workers, by the current administration in Russia. I do not believe we should allow this to continue unchallenged.

If you are interested in reading more about this and other situations around the world I highly recommend Human Rights Watch. They have excellent research on many issues around the world.

The knitting world. as I expected it would, has come together in a phenomenal way to raise awareness of these issues, with a specific focus on LGBT rights. Many exceptional initiatives have been started. If you are interested in reading more, or supporting the many fundraising efforts for organisations advocating for LGBT rights around the world, have a look at some of the links listed below.

Lilith, the indie dyer behind Old Maiden Aunt wrote this excellent blog post, discussing why this issue is so important and giving some insight into her stance in relation to the Ravellenics. She also dyed some amazing yarn, although that has now unfortunately sold out.

Kate Heppel, a UK designer and the editor of Knit Now magazine has this gorgeous pattern available to raise awareness. She encourages people to talk and discuss this issue. I agree with her sentiment. “Please spread the word. Start a discussion. We cannot and will not be silenced.”

BristolIvy who blogs at Black Bird Turning has written a wonderful post combining the fabulous efforts of designers world wide to raise awareness and money. I highly recommend this article. 

There is indeed much food for thought. I would like to leave this post in the spirit of the A Playful Day post, one of activism but with love in our hearts.

I believe that positive action without negative anger, is far more productive than angry action.

Thank you x

Advent Garland KAL

Although I may not be progressing very quickly with my modular knitting challenge I am still working on it. This is 3/24 for my advent calendar. It took me almost a month from start to finish, this including a lot of time sitting in the bottom of my project bag. There is a fair amount of fiddly sewing for these decorations which I am always keen to avoid. 

I like this little house, it is super cute. 

image-15

 

The design is by Frankie Brown and is free on Ravelry. The designer does ask for a donation to Children’s Liver Disease Foundation in lieu of payment for the patterns. www.justgiving.com/frankiesknittedstuff

The advent garland is a set of decorations held on knitted garland strip. The details can be found here. 

Spotted

A few weeks ago I had grand ambitions of a regular blog schedule and lots of juicy posts for you. I drew mind maps and planned, made little calendars and scheduled ideas….

It (obviously) erm … worked a treat. The mind maps are in the back of my notebook, the calendar looks at me forlornly every now and then, and the scheduling is still a pipe dream. I will get there though, I just need to keep my feet on the ground and write some of those posts that are swimming around in my brain.

Moving on to today’s post…

I often spot things online or in the real world and think – I want to tell everyone about this! I also often find myself thinking, “that is all well and good but does everyone want to know about this”. I do hope that some of my random ‘spotted items’ will appeal to you.

This weeks “Spotted” was seen out in the wilds of John Lewis. I am not sure how wild John Lewis can really be, but I like to think when we (me and the little one) are out and about we add a certain dimension of wildness to everything. In all honesty it is usually a discombobulated chaos but humour me and my ideas of wildness.

Moving onto yarn. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I like John Lewis, it is safe and dependable. If you need a skein of wool for a hat or a lot of skeins for a jumper, you will find safe dependable brands and lots of lovely colours. There is nothing wrong with safe and dependable, nothing at all. I do not, however, associate John Lewis with a wow factor … I usually get that in small independent shops where I stumble across magical hand dyed skeins or some gorgeous rare breed yarns. I was not prepared to find this in my local John Lewis.

photo-56

Regia Trendpoint is 100g of brightly coloured sock yarn. I love the combination of solid dependable Regia sock yarn and bright fabulous colour. It is a real winner and as soon as I saw it, my mind was swimming with ideas of things to knit with it.

The skien gives you 420m of a 75% wool and 25% nylon blend and it comes in eight bright colours. I can see a few of them paired with grey (surprisingly) for some cheery socks.

There are also a number of designers releasing things that would look amazing in these yarns. The recent design Fine Tune by Joji Locatelli would be amazing in this yarn with a good base grey yarn, as would many of the striped shawls by Veera Valimaki.

What do you think of this Regia yarn? Could you see yourself using it, or its it far too bright?