Project – Flames in the Furrow

Pattern: Furrow to the Plough
Designer: Rebecca Marsh

Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Fino
Shade: 6362

Ravelry: Flames in the Furrow

I found this yarn when on a day trip to Ely with some of my lovely knitting friends. We had planned into the day a visit to Yarn on the Square which was a very cosy and welcoming place. I wasn’t in need of anything in particular so I browsed vaguely. As soon as I reached the Manos del Uruguay stand I was immediately taken by this skein of yarn, the colour was so amazing! I must have picked it up and put it down again about half a dozen times before I decided that clearly I needed it!

Yarn selfie!

Straight away I knew it needed to be a scarf so I scoured the Ravelry pattern search for something suitable. Very quickly I found the pattern for Furrow to the Plough and really liked it. When I read that the inspiration for the pattern and its name came from Firefly, I knew it was the one! The colour of the yarn makes me think of a big cosy fire which is why my version is named Flames in the Furrow.

Flames in the Furrow - double wrap

The yarn was a delight to knit with, really easy to work. The only downside was that the dye wasn’t well fixed and I did come away with orange hands when I knitted, but it washed right off so wasn’t a problem. Even better was that after one gentle wash prior to blocking, all the loose dye came out and I’ve had no dye transfer at all when wearing it. Good thing too, as I wear it all the time!

Flames in the Furrow - detail

I really can’t recommend this yarn enough, nor the pattern. It’s a very simple pattern repeat, just knit as if to do P3 K5 rib but because you cast on one less stitch than would be required for a rib repeat, you end up instead with a diagonal shift that creates the wonderful furrow effect. It’s also the perfect length for me – it can either be worn singly to give a big colour effect or wrapped double for a snuggly neck.

DSC01494a

Rowan Mystery Afghan KAL – Finally finished!

So I’m back with a bang! Can you believe it’s been almost 2 years since Rowan first launched their Martin Storey Mystery Afghan KAL? If it’s been so long that you’ve forgotten, you can see my other blog posts here. And I have finally finished the huge amount of sewing required just in time (OK, a little bit late) to gift the blanket to my brother and new sister-in-law on their wedding. I think it looks absolutely amazing and I’m so pleased that they like it too.

Here are some photos of the finished Afghan spread out in our guest room. It’s a dark winter’s day here today so the lighting wasn’t great, but I think the colours still came out reasonably well.

PWW Afghan Complete

PWW Afghan TopPWW Afghan Bottom Left

PWW Afghan Bottom RightPWW Afghan Middle

What an epic project. I stopped and started so many times that it’s taken me 1 year and 8 months to finish. Yikes! But what a fantastic sense of satisfaction now it’s done. I hope this will inspire you to pick up one of your long term languishing projects over the Christmas period.

Project – Cabled Ottoman Cover

Pattern: Cabled Ottoman Cover
Designer: Julie Farmer

Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted
Shade: Umber (110)
Pure Wool Worsted - Umber 110

Ravelry: Cabled Ottoman Cover

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may recall that a couple of months ago the brand new sofas arrived for our new home. I was very excited!

As predicted, I went straight to looking for things I could knit to go with them and this project is the first. I have an old ottoman footstool that I bought from IKEA when I was a student, it’s just a plywood cube with a small cushion that straps on top and it was very useful at the time. As you do when you’re a student, I bought one with a bright purple fabric cover and of course it just doesn’t match anything any more. So I wanted to knit a nice new cover that would match our forever furniture. A search on Ravelry brought back just the perfect pattern, it was almost exactly what I’d imagined I might want and it was a free download too!

I knew that for a footstool the I chose yarn would need to be hard-wearing and ideally machine washable so I could easily clean any grubby marks it ends up with in the future. For that reason, I picked Pure Wool Worsted. I’ve worked with it before and I know it’s great for all those things! Plus the range of shades is huge so I knew I’d find one that would match. I decided to go for one as close as possible to the colour of the sofa side/base so it would look like it matched. After pulling threads out of my shade card for half an hour or so, Umber seemed like a great match.

Ottoman Top

Having downloaded and read through the pattern, the first change I made was to knit it in the round. There’s no need to knit four separate sides and a separate top and it was very easy to convert. I subtracted two stitches from the amount needed for one side piece (they would have been the one on each end sewn into the seams) and multiplied that by four to get the total number of stitches. I cast on and put markers to denote the end of each side, with a different colour for the fourth one that marked the end of the round. To account for the reduced stitches at each end, the first rib repeat on each side was k1 p2, the following were k2 p2 as per the pattern, then the final was k2 p1.

Ottoman Side

The pattern for the sides is pretty easy to follow, the only difficulty is that the two cables have a different number of rows in their repeats (6 and 8). I used the two digits on a row counter to count the 6 and 8 respectively, to make sure I knew when I needed to cable for each one. Then just keep knitting till it’s tall enough, which is extra easy to check when working in the round. My circular needle cable wasn’t as long as it could have been, so I had to use some spare needles to hold some stitches in order to get the work over the stool when checking the length, but that was OK.

Once I got the sides long enough, I then worked this round:

  1. Knit side 1 as per pattern
  2. Cast off side 2
  3. Put side 3 on waste yarn
  4. Cast off side 4

Then I worked side 1 back and forth until it was long enough for the top of the stool. Once done, I worked a three needle bind-off with the end of the top and the stitches saved from side 3. Finally, I sewed the seams between the top and sides 2 and 4. Et voilá! Much less sewing and faff than working it flat.

Ottoman

The only disappointment for me is that because of the dark yarn I chose and how tightly the cover fits, you can see the white cushion cover and the pale plywood through the cables in some places. At some point I make take the time to dye the cushion cover a darker colour and maybe even paint the plywood too, although the cushion is a bigger problem. That aside, I’m really pleased with how it’s come out. Next in the Great Interior Decorating Plan – cushion covers!

Project – Marian Cowls

Pattern: Marian
Designer: Jane Richmond

Yarn:
Rowan Big Wool
Rowan Big Wool Colour

Shades:
Black 008Zing 037Jamboree 104
Ravelry:
Marian Cowl – Black
Marian Cowl – Green
Marian Cowl – Colour

A few years ago I was in a yarn clearance sale (I know, as if that ever happens!) and there was a single ball of Big Wool in black that I was sure I would be able to find a use for, so I grabbed it along with my other purchases. It then sat in my stash for ages as I had big plans for garments and other things, but no inspiration for this one cuddly ball of yarn. Eventually I decided it needed a fate, so I turned to the trusty Ravelry pattern search, and found Marian. The yarn it was intended for is even chunkier than Big Wool but I figured it would still work, and I was right.

The pattern is just very simple moss stitch in the round, but with a twist – literally! Before you join your cast on stitches to begin knitting, you do what you are always told not to do when knitting in the round – you take the first stitch on your left needled and twist it 360 around the needle. This creates a Möbius strip effect which gives the cowl its distinctive shape.

Having knitted the cowl, I had no real idea what to do with it. I hadn’t made it for me specifically and I thought maybe it could be a good gift, but I didn’t really decide and it sat around unused for a while. One day I think I was a bit chilly at home so I tried it on and realised that I absolutely loved it! In fact, between the Check That Cowl that I designed for Rowan’s launch of Kidsilk Amore around the same time, cowls became my new favourite thing in the whole world.

Marian Cowl - Black

Later that year I found another lone ball of Big Wool in green which I knew my brother’s fiancée would love, so I made her one in the same pattern as a birthday present. Unfortunately I never got a photo of it, but it looked brilliant in that bright shade of green.

Finally, when Rowan launched Big Wool Colour they sent me a ball for review. I knew just the thing for it by then, so that is now my second Marian cowl! I think it looks even better in Colour, the stitch and the curve really show off all the gorgeous flecks of colour in the yarn. Plus I can wear it with all sorts of outfits, because there’s a bit of almost every colour in there.

I really can’t recommend this pattern enough, just one ball of Big Wool or Big Wool Colour and an evening or two can make you a really versatile accessory. It’s brilliant for a gift in rush, too! You will need big needles though (I used 15mm) but I think they were worth the investment.

Marian Cowl - Jamboree

Marian Cowl - Jamboree close-up

Project – Camellia Shrug

Pattern: Camellia Shrug
Designer: Cassie Castillo

Yarn: Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic DK

Ravelry: Camellia Shrug

 

Camellia Shrug - front

This is a project that I finished over a year ago, it’s just taken me so long to get some good photos and blog about it! Sometimes I am pretty useless at getting round to things… I bought the yarn on clearance at John Lewis, intending to make a shrug with it. I really wanted a couple more for work as they’re great for when it’s a bit too warm for a cardigan but not quite warm enough without one. I plugged the pack of yarn into Ravelry’s pattern search and Camellia came back – the lace won me over right away so I knew it was the one.

Initially I made the size 38 as I was worried that 34 would be too small. Actually, 38 was way too big so I had to rip out the edge banding, the sleeves and the outer part of the body. Luckily the lace pattern for the body is the same regardless of size, so I didn’t have to work that again! Size 34 is a much better fit, although the body is still a big long from top to bottom, but that’s just the style of the pattern rather than an issue with the size I made.

The lace pattern is gorgeous on both body and sleeves, and it turns out this yarn was a great choice for it because it gives fantastic stitch definition in the lace panels. Sadly it’s been discontinued (that’s probably why I got it in the clearance sale) as I’d definitely knit with it again.

In the end, the hardest part of the project (other than having to rip it out and start again!) was actually getting the body lace panel started. With just a handful of stitches on DPNs, my needles kept slipping out of the stitches and it was really maddening for a while. Somehow I managed to push through it and once I had enough stitches to move onto circulars, I was easily away.

Now it’s spring time, this has come out of the wardrobe again recently when I wore it to work. I still love it more than a year since I finished it so if that’s not a great review, I don’t know what is!

Camellia Shrug - back

Camellia Shrug - lace detail

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