New summer yarn – Rowan Softyak DK

Rowan’s most exciting spring/summer release this year is Softyak DK, a gorgeous yarn perfect for the warmer and transitional months. I’m sure yarn made from yak must exist, I’ve never seen it before so it was a real surprise to me when I saw this. Blended with yak and cotton, the yarn has a chain construction and slightly mottled effect due to the differences in why the dye is absorbed by the mixture of fibres. Even more surprising is how wonderfully soft the yarn is, I expected yak to be a bit scratchy but thatcouldn’t be further from the truth! It’s really comfortable against the skin.

Softyak DK

The palette contains a mixture of pastels and brights, making it versatile for your summer wardrobe.

Softyak DK 230 CreamSoftyak DK 231 SteppeSoftyak DK 232 PlainSoftyak DK 233 PrairieSoftyak DK 234 SavannahSoftyak DK 235 PampasSoftyak DK 236 LeaSoftyak DK 237 MeadowSoftyak DK 238 HeathSoftyak DK 239 PlateauSoftyak DK 240 PastureSoftyak DK 241 LawnSoftyak DK 242 PeatSoftyak DK 243 Terrain

To accompany the new yarn is the Softyak DK Collection of new designs. These are a few of my personal favourites.

Karma

This is quite a simple jumper, but the gathered hem at the bottom gives it a really interesting line.

Karma 1Karma 2

Nambu

The simple lines make this easy to wear and allows the block colours to be the key focus of this cardigan. The relatively short body will make this great for showing off your nice summer dresses and skirts.

Nambu 1Nambu 2

Jumo

A really cute tunic with some interesting textures, I especially like the ribbed cap sleeves. I’m also a sucker for a keyhole on front or back neck, so that’s a winning detail for me.

Jumo 1Jumo 2

Tinley

Another example of simple lines allowing the colours to do the talking. I really like the exaggerated shoulder shaping and the flattering neckline on this.

Tinley 1Tinley 2

Ketu

I fell in love with this jumper the second I turned the page and saw it. Something about the chunky garter stitch edges, the little buttons on the neckline and the overall shaping really capture my imagination.

Ketu 1Ketu 2

I was so taken with both Ketu and Tinley that I already have the yarn to knit both! I swatched for Ketu over the weekend and I’m now ready to cast on. I’m knitting it in the same shade as featured in the photo (Plateau). For Tinley I have chosen Plain as the base colour and will be using the remaining balls of Plateau for the stripes after I finish knitting Ketu with it.

DSC01599

I hope this has inspired you to check out Softyak DK, it really is a lovely yarn and I can’t wait to have a finished garment to wear!

A Summer of Light

As promised, this is the first of my reviews from the Rowan spring/summer collection for 2015. Summerlite 4ply is a sumptuous new cotton yarn which uses 100% of the finest quality cotton. The finish of the yarn is matt, but it still feels beautifully soft. There are 12 shades in a lovely summer palette:

417 Pure White418 Washed Linen419 Duck Egg420 Blushes421 Buttermilk422 Still Grey424 Periwinkle426 Pinched Pink428 High Tide429 Navy Ink431 Pepper Pot432 Aubergine

To accompany the yarn is a collection of patterns from Martin Storey which show the yarn off to great effect with a mixture of cables, lace and colourwork. These are just a few of my favourites:

AmandierHellebore
Amandier
Hellebore

These two are lovely little garments that would be great for the slight coolness of a summer evening, just to keep the chill off. The lovely lacework and stitch textures used show this fine yarn off to great effect.

ArgentineLunaire
Argentine
Lunaire

I’m a big fan of cables so these both get my vote! There’s something just so delicious about a little cabled jumper. Both of these also rather excitingly feature beading! That isn’t a technique I’ve tried before and I think it’s great to see Rowan including it in their latest designs. The best thing is that either jumper would work fine without the beads, so anyone who doesn’t want to be quite that adventurous could simply leave them out.

RoseanBelle Du Jour
Rosean
Belle Du Jour

My last picks feature stunning colourwork in simple shapes, which is a great combination. Rosean in particular is a very simple and flattering shape, but made really special by the lovely rose pattern. Belle Du Jour adds some extra interest by having lace sleeves and hem which I think makes that a fascinating project.

If you’d like to see more, you can browse the whole Summerlite 4ply collection on Rowan’s website.

This yarn has enchanted me so much that I will be knitting a design from the collection. Hortensia struck me as a really wearable design that should be good for in-between seasons as well if dressed in the right way. I’ll be knitting it in shade 428 High Tide, watch this space for a project post in the future!

Hortensia

Kid Classic Inspiration

Some months ago I chose a design to make with Rowan’s Kid Classic. Since then I’ve cooled to the idea of the design that I’d chosen, so now I have a pack of gorgeous yarn and nothing in mind to make with it. As yet I’m coming up stumped with ideas of what to make so I’m looking to you, dear readers, to give me some inspiration!

Kid Classic

What can you suggest that I might like to make? Here are your criteria…

  • Must be knitting, not crochet
  • Must be a jumper, cardigan or similar garment (tunic, vest, etc…)
  • Must require 10 balls or less (for a 36” bust / medium size)
  • Could potentially require a mix of Kid Classic with another yarn, although it would be better for my bank balance if not!
  • Must not require colourwork as all 10 balls are the same shade (unless alternate colour is a different yarn, see above)
  • Does not necessarily need to be a free pattern, could be a paid download or from a published book or magazine (current or back issue, as long as I can get my mitts on it for a reasonable price)
  • No zips, I’m not a fan of them in handknits

I think that’s about it! I’d love it if you could get your thinking caps on and share some lovely pattern inspiration with me in the comments below. If it helps, here is the shade I have:

KC 872 Earth

And lastly, if your suggestion gets cast on then I might just have a dig in my stash and send you a little something as a thank you!

Rowan’s Kaffe Fassett Mystery KAL – Complete!

Can you believe it? The KAL is finally done! In case you hadn’t spotted the links from Rowan yet, the making up directions are available here.

My Ravelry project page is here: http://ravel.me/angelsasha/kfmkal

For the small cushion version that I’ve made, I needed a cushion pad. A quick trip to my local Dunelm Mill provided just what I needed, a 56cm pad. Now I just needed to decide how to finish the cushion off. I’m not a fan of zips in knitwear and I also didn’t want to sew the cushion closed as I wanted to be able to easily wash the cover and replace/clean the pad if needed in the future.

During an evening at my knitting group, I mentioned my quandary about how to complete the project. Luckily my fellow knitters are a wonderfully clever and helpful lot, who gave me a whole range of suggestions to think over. In the end I decided to make an internal flap like you get in a pillowcase so that I could tuck the cushion pad inside and remove it easily if needed.

To achieve this, I first needed to get sewing. After sewing all the squares together using the long cast on and cast off tail ends that I’d intentionally left, I had the front and the back of the cushion completed. Next I decided which way up I wanted to sew the panels together (in the end I inverted them) so that I knew which edge of the back panel would be the “bottom”. I picked a needle size smaller than I’d used for the squares, grabbed three shades of yarn for which I had plenty leftover and with the first one I picked up stitches all along the bottom edge of the back panel. I then knit in 2×2 rib until I had about one third of the height of a square. Switch to shade 2 and repeat, then shade 3. I now had a ribbed panel in three stripes that was as long as one square.

The next step was to sew the side seams, and when I got towards the bottom I made sure to sew the edge of the ribbed panel in with the front and back panels. That way the pillowcase flap was formed. Obviously the bottom seam was left open to fit the cushion in.

So here it is! I’m really happy with the final result, the colours are divine and it’s a great size. The cushion pad is just right too, squashy enough for comfort but with enough substance for decent support. Having long-standing lower back issues, this is the perfect cushion for when I’m sat on the sofa and need something extra to prop me up.

DSC01448DSC01453

Is yours finished yet? I’d love to see photos of your cushion, bolster or Afghan.

Welcome to 2015!

A belated happy new year to all my readers, I hope 2015 is going well for you so far! It’s been quiet around here for a little while due to life getting in the way of blogging. George and I bought our first home at the end of November and we moved in early December so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind since then, with Christmas on top. It’s also been getting harder and harder to blog because my poor laptop was getting slower and slower, which is fair enough considering it is the better part of a decade old. Now we’re settled in the new house, I have my own desk in our new study. My laptop used to live on the end of the dining table, so this is very exciting for me! Even better is that I commissioned George to build me a shiny new desktop PC, as I don’t really have any need for a laptop any more and would much rather have a powerful and easy to maintain tower with a big monitor. And that’s what I’ve got – I just need a new desk chair (currently using George’s old one) and my corner of the study will be more or less complete.

So – I’m back! And with lots of blogs planned. Firstly I finished my Kaffe KAL cushion and have some photos to share along with my tips for how I finished it. There are also lots of projects I’ve finished over the winter (and some from much longer ago than that!) which I want to write up for the blog, so keep an eye out for those. Finally, Rowan have launched their Spring Summer 2015 collection and it’s gorgeous! I have lots to say on the new collection, but for now here is just a glimpse of what’s in store…

Magazine 57 CoverCotton Lustre CoverSummerlite 4ply CoverTetra Cotton Cover

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